ABA reiterates support for FTC proposal against impersonators

In testimony today, the American Bankers Association once again urged the Federal Trade Commission to adopt rulemaking 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. The proposed rule is meant to expand the remedies available to victims of impersonation fraud. ABA joined with other associations last year in support of the rule, and it reiterated that support during a public hearing on the proposal.

“Bad actors regularly impersonate banks, credit unions, other financial service providers, healthcare companies and other legitimate callers by illegally ‘spoofing’ phone numbers belonging to these businesses,” said Paul Benda, SVP for operational risk and cybersecurity at ABA. “Additionally, bad actors send text messages from numbers that appear to belong to a legitimate business, often including links to fake websites, or send a text message from the bad actor’s own number, making it appear that it is from a legitimate business, with the intent to defraud the recipient.”

ABA urged the commission to finalize the rule as soon as feasible. It also asked the commission to impose liability on telephone companies that provide consumers with unauthenticated and falsified caller ID information in the consumer’s caller ID display. “We understand there are technical challenges fully implementing the caller ID authentication protocol STIR/SHAKEN but strongly believe that unless that data can be authenticated at the highest level from the origination point of the call to the consumer, that it should not be allowed to show any name on a consumer device and unknown caller data should be shown instead,” Benda said.