ASAE Applauds FTC for Finalizing Business Impersonation Rule

February 22, 2024

ASAE and a unified coalition of industry organizations scored a big advocacy win last week when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finalized its anti-impersonation fraud rule.

ASAE has been part of a coalition of more than 200 trade associations and event companies that urged the FTC to crack down on impersonation fraud. For associations and conference organizers, the scams have included using copyrighted event names and logos to sell attendee lists or lure consumers to fraudulent websites offering hotel bookings. ASAE President and CEO Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, testified before the FTC last spring on the need for stronger consumer protections against these threats. ASAE’s advocacy efforts also led the Nevada congressional delegation to urge the FTC last September to finalize the rulemaking as soon as possible.

The finalized FTC rule allows the agency to directly file federal court cases aimed at forcing scammers who impersonate businesses or government agencies to return the money generated from these fraudulent schemes. The rule specifies three fraudulent practices that can trigger legal action:

  • Unauthorized use of business logos when communicating with consumers by mail or online;
  • Creating spoof business emails and web addresses, including using lookalike email addresses or websites that rely on misspellings of an organization’s name; and
  • Falsely implying a business affiliation by using terms that are known to be affiliated with a business.

“Business impersonation scams have been a persistent problem for ASAE and other associations for decades now,” Mason said. “Emerging technology such as generative AI makes it even harder for consumers to tell a legitimate communication from a fraudulent one. Associations are built on public trust and credibility, and an association’s brand and other intellectual property are among our most valuable assets. ASAE appreciates the FTC for recognizing the severity of this problem and finalizing this rule.”

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