Statement of Jodie Bernstein, Director
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Federal Trade Commission
Press Conference to Announce 'GetRichQuick.Con'
March 23, 2000
Good Morning, and thank you all for being here. We're here to announce a massive, international law enforcement sweep -'GetRichQuick.Con' - targeted at fraud on the Internet. Before we talk about our sweep, I'd like to introduce a few of our partners. Larry Maxwell is Inspector in Charge of Fraud, Prohibited Mailings and Forfeiture at the U. S. Postal Inspection Service; Richard H. Walker is Director of the Division of Enforcement at the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Drew Edmondson, Attorney General of Oklahoma and Chair of National Association of Attorneys General's Consumer Protection Committee; Ken Hunter, formerly with the Postal Inspection Service and now President of the Council of Better Business Bureaus; and later, Antonino Serra Camaceres, Consumers International Legal Program Coordinator for Latin America and the Carribean will join us by phone from Chile, and Trine Corneliussen, Deputy Director General of the Norway's Office of Consumer Ombudsman will be joining us electronically, from a meeting of the International Marketing Supervision Network in Norway.
We're here to announce the largest ever international law enforcement project to fight fraud on the Internet. We had participants in the public and private sectors -- 150 organizations in 28 countries on 5 continents, including seven U.S. Federal agencies, 49 state consumer protection agencies, including 34 State Attorneys General and 39 Better Business Bureaus that swept the Internet targeting phony get-rich-quick schemes.
Internet con artists are bad actors without borders. We want them to know that the borderless Internet marketplace is not a free zone. The partnership we've put together is an amazing and diverse team. Fraud fighters from the U.K. to Uruguay, from Korea to Kansas have collected and forwarded information to the FTC on more than 1,600 suspect sites. Together with our partners, we are putting get-rich-quick schemes on notice that we're monitoring the Web and that we intend to take law enforcement action against those that continue to make fraudulent or deceptive claims. Though we speak different languages, on the subject of Internet fraud, it's with one voice -- con artists will not threaten the safety of the 'Net on our watch.
We are particularly pleased that we used our own Web site and Internet resources to organize the international team. Partners for the international effort were recruited via e-mail, and a step-by-step manual for conducting the surf and collecting evidence was posted on a password-protected Web site which we will show you shortly. Surf participants located anywhere around the globe used this Web site to submit information about suspicious Internet sites directly into a database administered by the us. Warning e-mails are now being sent to the targeted sites, with hyperlinks to the partners' consumer and business education materials at www.consumer.gov - a U.S. government Web site developed and hosted by the FTC that contains information for consumers from 140 Federal government Web sites. If these bad actors can use this new technology to deceive consumers, we can use it to catch them. And we have done just that.
Now I'd like to introduce our surfing and law enforcement partners.