September 07, 2023

Senator Cortez Masto Calls for FTC to Crack Down on Fraudulent Business Impersonation

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined a letter led by Congresswoman Susie Lee (D-Nev.-03) to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan calling for new protections for small businesses in the wake of a concerning uptick in fraudulent business impersonation. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Congressman Steven Horsford (D-Nev.-04), and Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-Nev.-01) also joined the letter.

Business impersonation fraud causes significant economic losses in Nevada and beyond. In their letter, the bicameral group highlights the damage already caused by business and government impersonators—estimated at $2.6 billion in economic losses in 2022 alone, for a nearly 50-percent increase over 2021. Particularly for cities like Las Vegas, which has been the top trade show destination in the U.S. for 25 consecutive years, rampant impersonation fraud threatens the success of trade show venues and the many small businesses that rely on the business events industry. The letter calls on the FTC Chair to swiftly adopt and implement a rule to effectively protect this key industry and local Las Vegas businesses from this serious form of fraud.

“Too many businesses in Nevada and other states across the country have felt the economic and reputational damage impersonation fraud can cause,” the members wrote. “The proliferation of impersonation fraud has proven especially damaging to the face-to-face business events industry, as impersonators have more and more regularly sought financial gain by advertising for fake exhibitions, tradeshows, and other business events. This targeted fraud threatens to put a damper on an industry that has long been a driving force for economic growth—for event organizers, host venues, and surrounding communities.”

The full letter can be found here.

Senator Cortez Masto has been a strong advocate for small businesses. She has introduced legislation to protect small businesses from expensive data breaches and cyber-attacks and to help small businesses whose operations are harmed by wildfire smoke. Last year, the administration answered her call to extend the deferment period for small businesses to repay loans to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and she has led legislation to streamline the EIDL program and combat fraud.