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Be alert for FTC impersonators

November 22, 2010
Two men purporting to work for the Federal Trade Commission visited a dealership to inquire about the dealer's compliance with the year-old Safeguards Rule and other federal privacy regulations, the NADA reported. FTC officials said agency staff are not conducting onsite investigations of dealers for privacy violations. Also, the FTC does not conduct on-site visits in conjunction with its privacy investigations before first establishing contact with the company through written or oral communications. If people identify themselves as FTC employees investigating privacy compliance, dealership staff should • Request their names and telephone numbers. • Disclose no information-especially customer information- unless the visitor's FTC credentials are confirmed. • Notify the NADA of the visit so that appropriate authorities can be contacted. The FTC's "Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information," or Safeguards Rule, concerns how financial institutions, including dealerships, treat any sensitive information obtained from customers. The Safeguards Rule became effective May 23, 2003. It is in addition to, yet independent of, the commission's Privacy Rule, which took effect July 1, 2001.