Federal Trade Commission Anti-Fraud Rule Supported by Marine Industry

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2024 – On Feb. 15, 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 MRAA, National Marine Manufacturers Association, and the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association submitted a comment to the FTC on Dec. 16, 2022, supporting the rule and outlining instances of this fraud in the marine and recreational vehicle space. Click here to read the letter.

“The MRAA lauds 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.”

Unfortunately, these types of scams are only getting more popular 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). 

“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.”

The final rule on government and business impersonation will become effective 30 days from the date it is published in the Federal Register. If you are interested in learning more, the full rule can be viewed here.

“The national RV Dealers Association (RVDA) has documented hundreds of attempts to scam our members through phony offers to purchase unauthorized mailing lists or hotel accommodations at association events,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “This new rule will provide much needed penalties for scammers impersonating legitimate businesses, trade groups, and government entities.”  

If you have any questions about the final rule or if your business has been subjected to fraud and impersonation, please reach out to Chad Tokowicz, MRAA Government Relations Manager, at Chad@mraa.com.

About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas

At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the retail organizations that interact with the boaters in their community must thrive. With that in mind, MRAA works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those retailers, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, visit MRAA.com or contact us at 763-315-8043.