RealTime IT News

U.S., 12 Other Countries Unite to Combat Online Fraud

Faced with the borderless nature of the Internet -- the ability to commit fraud in one country against a victim in another -- the United States and 12 other countries Tuesday unveiled plans to gather and share cross-border e-commerce complaints through a new site, econsumer.gov.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host and maintain the site, intended to help law enforcement agencies' address cross-border Internet fraud and deception.

"The global nature of ecommerce presents opportunities and challenges," said Robert Pitofsky, chairman of the FTC. "The Internet offers consumers access to goods, services and information from around the world. But the borderless nature of the marketplace can also frustrate governments' ability to protect consumers. econsumer.gov will provide a new tool to allow countries to work together to make the Internet safer for consumers across the globe."

The project consists of two components: a multilingual public Web site (econsumer.gov), and a password-protected Web site. The public site will serve as a resource for general information about consumer protection in all the partner countries, contact information for consumer protection authorities, and an online complaint form. The site will be available in English, Spanish, French and German.

The password-protected site will utilize the existing Consumer Sentinel network, a database of consumer complaint data and other investigatory information operated by the FTC, to share incoming complaints with participating consumer protection officers that have signed a confidentiality agreement.

The initiative will be launched at the semi-annual International Marketing Supervision Network conference in New York City.

Participating countries include: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.