FTC leads effort to crack down on Internet fraud

FTC leads effort to crack down on Internet fraud

By Kevin McCaney

GCN Staff

JAN. 10—Nearly half of the fraud cases pursued by the Federal Trade Commission in the past fiscal year were Internet-related, according to a report on the efforts of federal agencies and state attorneys general to combat consumer scams.

The Project Mailbox IV report, covering from Oct. 1, 1999, to Sept. 30, 2000,
documents the fourth year of the project, a joint effort of FTC, the Postal Inspection Service, Securities and Exchange Commission and National Association of Attorneys General.

Of more than 300 law enforcement actions taken in fraud cases, the report says, more than one-third of federal cases and more than half of the state cases involved operators who had a Web site or advertised on the Internet.

Bogus sweepstakes and prize promotions were the most common forms of fraud, with offers being distributed either by e-mail, regular mail or fax. Millions of dollars were returned to consumers as a result of FTC's actions, the report says.

Jodie Bernstein, director of FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the federal-state coalition has strengthened government's efforts against fraud. 'We want con artists ' to know that the FTC has built an effective consumer protection coalition to thwart their disreputable acts,' she said.

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