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The FTC is trying to help victims of impersonation scams get their money back

Illustration by Laura Normand / The Verge

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a new way to combat the impersonation scams that it says cost people $1.1 billion last year alone. Effective today, the agency’s rule (PDF) “prohibits the impersonation of government, businesses, and their officials or agents in interstate commerce.” The rule also lets the FTC directly file federal court complaints to force scammers to return money stolen by business or government impersonation.

Impersonation scams are wide-ranging — creators are on the lookout for fake podcast invites that turn into letting scammers take over their Facebook pages via a hidden “datasets” URL, while Verge reporters have been impersonated by criminals trying to steal cryptocurrency via fake Calendly meeting links.

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