U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Business Impersonation Rule (BIR) - Update and Next Steps

April 22, 2024

As highlighted in March, and similar to many other trade associations, IAM has long contended with scamming individuals, particularly around the time of, and leading into the Annual Meeting. These individuals often purport to represent the association, falsely claiming to be able to provide reduced conference, hotel and sponsorship rates. The Business Impersonation Rule is designed to reduce that illegal activity.

Effective as of April 1st, the below actions are specifically prohibited:

  • 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

The BIR provides FTC with the following avenues to address bad actors in this space, specifically:

  • Permits the FTC to seek direct monetary relief in federal court from scammers
  • Replaces “unlawful” with “unfair or deceptive act or practice” and adds “materially” and “in or affecting commerce”

A since issued Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will provide additional guidance, requirements and restrictions with respect to the BIR.

n the meantime, IAM encourages all members to report to the FTC prohibited solicitation, and to also share this information with IAM, so we may continue to monitor any activity. The association extends its thanks to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) for helping to lead a broad-based trade association response throughout the rulemaking process. IAM will provide additional guidance and avenues of recourse as they are made available by the FTC.

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