Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to adopt a national rule to target impersonation scams.
A comment letter from 49 attorneys general raises concerns about the plethora of impersonation scams targeting consumers and the current lack of a national rule to outlaw these fraudulent acts and protect Americans.
Attorneys general serve as the front-line defense against impersonation scams, seeing first-hand the pervasive problem these acts create for consumers, small businesses, and charities in their states.
Though the methods may vary, impersonation scams cause injury to consumers who lose money, drain resources from regulators tasked with protecting the public, and cause confusion and loss of trust in government agencies and services.
“There is a pressing need for FTC rulemaking to address the scourge of impersonation scams impacting consumers across the United States,” the letter states. “A national rule that encompasses and outlaws such commonly experienced scams discussed [in our letter] would assist attorneys general and their partners in reducing consumer harm, maximizing consumer benefits, and holding bad actors to account.”
A robust national standard outlawing impersonation scams should:
- Deter bad actors and reduce consumer harm.
- Provide needed clarity on what conduct constitutes impersonation, since government and business impersonation scams can range from overt pretense to misleading subtlety.
- Deprive bad actors of the excuse that they were allegedly not aware their activities were illegal in some jurisdictions as opposed to others.
- Provide more opportunities for the states to collaborate with the FTC on multistate enforcement actions against imposter scammers.
- Allow states to enforce their own standards, free of any preemption by a federal rule.
According to the attorneys general, the FTC should publish additional consumer and business education materials to help prevent consumers from becoming victims of impersonation fraud. These efforts must serve as a complement to strong regulation with a robust enforcement scheme, not as an alternative.
“The attorneys general hope to continue working with the FTC and other partners to sound the alarm on impersonation scams,” the letter states.
The comment letter was led by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III.
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