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FTC Plans Crackdown on 9-11 Spam

Spam is one of the Internet's dirty little secrets, and it's bad enough when your mom gets targeted with porn stuff and get-rich quick schemes. But the people who prey on the public selling worthless products related to the events of Sept. 11 are among the lowest of the low.

So it's welcome news that the Federal Trade Commission is planning a crackdown on such spam scammers.

The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection is getting ready to announce "a law enforcement initiative targeting deceptive spam that appealed to post 9-11 patriotism to sell worthless products."

Details won't be fully disclosed until Monday, but the move follows earlier FTC efforts to crack down on deceptive junk e-mail, including a sting operation.

The enforcement action was foreshadowed in February when Howard Beales, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, speaking Thursday during this week's annual Privacy and Data Security Summit in Washington, D.C., said that the FTC plans to initiate "stepped up" law enforcement against senders of deceptive or misleading offers via e-mail.

The agency said it has been involved in more than 30 spam cases since it began pursuing e-mail-related wrongdoings in 1994. But in October, the FTC's new chairman, Timothy Muris, said the Commission would make stamping out false e-mail advertising one of its major efforts during 2002.