The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA), a big advocacy voice of the US business events industry, has applauded the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for finalising its Government and Business Impersonation Rule, which will target scammers who impersonate businesses and government entities.
“For far too long, scammers have preyed on the business events industry with their hotel reservation scams and attendee list sale scams,” said Vinnie Polito, Society of Independent Show Organisers CEO and ECA co-president. “Now the FTC will have stronger tools to go after those who target our industry, and we strongly encourage the agency to do just that.”
Notably, the new Government and Business Impersonation Rule will allow the FTC to directly file federal court cases aimed at forcing scammers to return the money they made from business impersonation scams. This includes seeking direct monetary relief from scammers that:
• Use business logos when communicating with consumers by mail or online
• Spoof business emails and web addresses, including using lookalike email addresses or websites that rely on misspellings of a company’s name
• Falsely imply business affiliation by using terms that are known to be affiliated with a business.
“Scammers targeting the business events industry unfairly harm the small businesses, entrepreneurs, exhibitors, and non-profit organisations that we work tirelessly to support,” said Marsha Flanagan, International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) president and CEO and ECA co-president. “That’s why our industry was front and centre in advocating for this important new rule, and we comment the FTC for finalising it with a unanimous vote.”
ECA, its alliance partners, and many other business events industry leaders – including the Consumer Technology Association, the American Society of Association Executives, and IAEE’s Major American Trade Show Organisers group – have been actively advocating in support of this new rule for more than two years. This includes submitting multiple comment letters, testifying at an informal FTC hearing last May, supporting a coalition effort that resulted in a letter of support signed by 235 organisations, and highlighting the issue for members of Congress during ECA’s 2023 Legislative Action Day, which generated additional Congressional support.
“Advocacy works!” said Tommy Goodwin, ECA vice-president. “This new FTC rule would not have been possible without such remarkable whole-of-industry support. Thank you to all the associations and industry stakeholders who made this important progress possible.”
For more information on the news from the FTC, click here. The final Government and Business Impersonation Rule will become effective 30 days from the date it is published in the Federal Register, which is unknown at this time.