Federal Trade Commission Finalizes Government and Business Impersonation Rule

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finalized its Government and Business Impersonation Rule, which gives the agency more tools to combat scammers who impersonate businesses or government agencies.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, and the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association, submitted a comment to the FTC on December 16th, 2022, supporting the rule and outlining instances of this fraud in the marine and recreational vehicle space.

“This new rule helps protect both boating advocates and the uniquely American recreational boating industry, which is primarily made up of small businesses,” said Callie Hoyt, NMMA vice president of government relations. “The recreational boating industry generates more than $230 billion in economic activity each year, and those seeking to fraud consumers and manufacturers should be held accountable. We’re pleased to see this rule finalized.”

Unfortunately, these types of scams are rapidly increasing and have impacted members of the recreational marine industry, however, the newly finalized regulations provide an opportunity for retribution. For example, the rule would enable the FTC to directly seek monetary relief in federal court from scammers that:

  • Use government seals or business logos when communicating with consumers by mail or online.
  • Spoof 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 imply government or business affiliation by using terms that are known to be affiliated with a government agency or business (e.g., stating “I’m calling from the Clerk’s Office” to falsely imply affiliation with a court of law).

“The MRAA applauds the FTC for promulgation of this final rule and for increasing protections for MRAA members and others in the marine industry who may be impacted by instances of fraud,” said Chad Tokowicz, MRAA Government Relations Manager. “We are hopeful that this will stunt efforts of fraud and impersonation as offenders now run the risk of facing legal action.”

About

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the nation’s leading trade association representing boat, marine engine and accessory manufacturers. Collectively, NMMA members manufacture an estimated 80 percent of marine products used in North America. NMMA is a unifying force and powerful voice for the recreational boating industry, working to strengthen and grow boating and protect the interests of its member companies.