ABA, associations support FTC proposal against impersonators

The American Bankers Association and five financial and health care industry associations last week expressed support for a Federal Trade Commission proposal to prohibit the impersonation of government, businesses and their officials, and to prohibit entities from providing the “means and instrumentalities” for another to impersonate a government or business. Through rulemaking, the FTC seeks to expand the remedies available to those who are victims of impersonation fraud.

The trade groups urged the FTC to impose liability on voice service providers that provide consumers with unauthenticated and falsified caller ID information in the consumer’s caller ID display. The groups also urged the FTC and Federal Communications Commission to investigate mobile applications that allow a user to spoof an outbound calling number to determine the purpose for which these apps are used and to publish the agencies’ findings.

Additionally, the groups asked the FTC to clearly state that the mere provision of a payment service that is used by a bad actor to perpetrate the unlawful impersonation of a government or business would not trigger liability. “When a financial institution that provides a payment service has no knowledge or reason to expect that its customer is using the payment service to unlawfully impersonate a government or business, the institution is not providing the means or instrumentalities for the impersonation,” the groups said in the letter.