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The International Sign Association (ISA) has observed a worrisome uptick in fraudulent emails that claim to be from ISA or represent ISA in some way. This concerning trend of deceptive email scams not only poses a threat to the association itself but also exposes the sign industry to potential scams.
As a response to these issues, ISA has joined forces with other industry organizations to call upon the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action against business impersonation fraud.
ISA has identified two primary types of scam emails affecting industry associations. The first involves hotel reservation scams, where unscrupulous brokers offer misleading cancellation policies or falsely advertise non-existent hotel rooms to extract credit card information from attendees. The second type involves attendee list sales, in which rogue list brokers falsely claim to possess the attendee list for an event.
In the lead-up to the highly successful ISA International Sign Expo® 2023, held in April, ISA had to send over 300 cease-and-desist letters to these scammers. This influx of fraudulent communications left exhibitors and attendees confused and concerned about distinguishing legitimate ISA communications from fraudulent ones.
ISA emphasizes that it’s not alone in facing these challenges, as such scams are prevalent across various industries and events.
For instance, on May 4, 2023, the FTC held a hearing focused on business impersonation scams, and ISA’s concerns were mentioned during the testimony. ISA has collaborated with other industry trade groups to support a potential new FTC regulation currently under consideration, known as the “Rule on Impersonation of Government and Businesses.”
ISA commits to monitoring the progress of the proposed FTC regulation and is prepared to support further regulatory measures to deter fraud and penalize scammers.
The association underscores that any company claiming to provide a current and accurate list of ISA Sign Expo attendees or offering discounted rates on hotel rooms is deceiving purchasers and potentially putting them at risk of identity theft. ISA explicitly states that it does not sell its list of attendees or their email addresses to any external entities.
ISA also advises that legitimate emails from the International Sign Association will either originate from email addresses with the @signs.org domain or direct recipients to the signs.org or signexpo.org websites. Booking hotel rooms directly through links on the ISA Sign Expo website is the safest way to protect against hotel-related fraud. In the event of receiving a suspicious email, recipients are urged not to click on any links and to forward it to [email protected] for verification of its legitimacy.