U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Issues Final Rule on Business Impersonation

March 06, 2024

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a final rule on business impersonation. IAM closely followed the earlier proposed rule and stakeholder process, alongside other trade associations. The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) led collective comments, highlighting the need for trade associations and similar organizations to be classified as businesses, and therefore, covered under the rule.

The final rule defines a "business" as a corporation, partnership, association, or any other entity that provides goods or services, including not-for-profit entities.

Beginning April 1st, prohibited business impersonation actions will include the following:

  • Use of government seals or business logos when communicating with consumers by mail or online.
  • Spoofing government and business emails and web addresses, including spoofing “.gov” email addresses or using lookalike email addresses or websites that rely on misspellings of a company’s name.
  • Falsely implying government or business affiliation by using terms that are known to be affiliated with a government agency or business.

IAM, like many other trade associations, has long contended with scamming individuals, particularly around the time of the Annual Meeting. These individuals often purport to represent the association, falsely claiming to be able to provide reduced conference, hotel and sponsorship rates. This rule is designed to reduce that illegal impersonation activity. For individuals determined to be in violation of the rule, the FTC will directly seek monetary relief in federal court, which will vary depending on the size and impact of the infraction.

For additional information, please contact Bryan Vickers (703-403-2882, bvickers@pacellp.com) with IAM's Government and Regulatory Affairs Team.