Cross-border fraud is a serious problem, and it appears to be growing. Consumers in the U.S. and abroad lose billions of dollars a year to telemarketers operating from "boiler rooms" across the border who pitch bogus products, services and investments. The most common cross-border frauds involve phony prize promotions, foreign lottery schemes, advance-fee loan scams, fraudulent travel offers, and unnecessary credit card loss "protection" offers.
The Federal Trade Commission launched a new Web site, www.ftc.gov/crossborder, to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid cross-border fraud. It contains information on recent FTC law enforcement actions against cross-border scam artists, as well as FTC coordination with law enforcement agencies in other countries to combat this multi-billion dollar problem.
Consumers can download many valuable consumer education publications, including "Hang Up on Cross-Border Phone Fraud," "Border-Line Scams are the Real Thing," and "Straight Talk About Telemarketing." The site also includes a full-color downloadable poster - "Foreign Lotteries: The Games You Can't Win"- for legitimate lottery vendors to help customers avoid common, costly foreign lottery scams. Consumers also can read the FTC's Five-Point Plan for Attacking Cross-Border Fraud, an initiative emphasizing increased cooperation between the public and private sector, as well as increased law enforcement activity.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.