The Alliance Applauds FTC for Finalizing Business Impersonation Fraud Rule

PRINTING United Alliance applauds the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for finalizing its Government and Business Impersonation Rule on February 15, 2024. The final rule, available here, targets scammers who impersonate businesses and government entities. With the new rule, the FTC can now 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 

The Alliance has been part of a coalition of more than 230 trade associations and event companies that urged the FTC to crack down on impersonation fraud. The coalition letter can be found here

The rule has a direct impact on events hosted by the Alliance, other trade associations, small businesses, entrepreneurs, exhibitors, and nonprofit organizations. Because the Alliance produces several business events including the popular PRINTING United Expo, PRINTING United Technical Event Series, invite-only Apparel Decoration, Inkjet, Digital Packaging, Leadership, and Wide-Format Summits, the new rule will provide a measure of protection against fraud. 

Lexy Olisko, vice president of expositions for the Alliance said, “I applaud the FTC for taking action on this matter. It is an issue that has long been a hinderance to our nonprofit organization and has affected our audience of business owners. As a member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Major American Trade Show Organizers Council, it is encouraging that the past two years of the business events industry actively advocating in support of this new rule has resulted in this. The FTC now has better tools to target those companies that are doing harm to the events industry and those that participate in events.” 

There are two common ways that events can be targeted, hotel reservation scams and attendee list sale scams. Scammers use the event name, logo and/or organizer’s name in their email signatures to create the illusion that their efforts are conducted with the approval of the event organizer. To protect yourself, when attending an Alliance event, be sure to book hotels through the Alliance website which ensures that your reservation is legitimate, and your information is protected.  

In the lead up to one association’s expo, they sent nearly 300 cease-and-desist letters to hotel reservation scam and attendee list sale scam artists preying on its event. Exhibitors and attendees contacted the association daily, voicing their confusion and concern about the emails they were receiving, many of which used the event name and logo in their disingenuous attempt to sell their fraudulent services. 

Because of additional threats posed by impersonation of individuals the FTC issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) that would expand the Government and Business Impersonation Rule. As scammers find new ways to defraud consumers, including through AI-generated deepfakes, this proposal will help the agency deter fraud and secure redress for harmed consumers. The public comment period for the SNPRM will be open for 60 days following the date it is published in the Federal Register. 

In this article, Stephanie Buka, Government Affairs Coordinator, PRINTING United Alliance, addresses the FTC’s Government and Business Impersonation Rule. More information about consumer protection laws can be found at Business Excellence-Legislation or reach out to Steph should you have additional questions specific to how these issues may affect your business:   

To become a member of the Alliance and learn more about how our subject matter experts can assist your company with services and resources such as those mentioned in this article, please contact the Alliance membership team: 888-385-3588 /  

Buka, Stephanie Government Affairs Coordinator Government & Regulatory Affairs