The Federal Trade Commission, members of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), and Costa Rican, U.S. and other dignitaries are meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica from February 27 through March 2 to review international efforts to combat cross-border consumer fraud and explore new global consumer protection initiatives. ICPEN is a network of consumer protection authorities comprised of members from 42 countries and partners from 11 additional jurisdictions. The FTC's participation in ICPEN is an important component of the agency's ongoing efforts to combat cross-border consumer fraud. More than 40 jurisdictions and 170 officials are participating in the meetings.
The ICPEN meeting will include a keynote speech from the President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, and will be attended by the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, Anne Slaughter Andrew. FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez will deliver a speech on consumer protection issues posed by the expansion of the top level domain name system operated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The FTC previously warned ICANN that its planned rapid expansion of the domain name system could leave consumers more vulnerable to online fraud and undermine law enforcers' efforts to track down online scammers.
"ICPEN members collaborate on important consumer protection issues in the online
marketplace – from fraud to privacy to Internet governance," Commissioner Ramirez said. "ICANN's dramatic expansion of top-level domains poses serious consumer protection concerns for all countries – the precise type of problems that ICPEN is here to address."
During the conference, ICPEN members will also explore current issues facing consumer protection authorities, such as false advertising, wire transfer fraud, and the new
enforcement challenges posed by emerging online and mobile payments. The ICPEN
Enforcement Steering Group, which the FTC leads, will also launch a new project to develop an online investigations training manual. This manual will draw on the participation of consumer protection law enforcement officials to identify superior investigative practices and procedures. The conference will include a two-day "best practices" training on topics such as conducting investigations of "negative-option" Internet scams and innovative approaches to consumer education.
The FTC is grateful to the U.S. Agency for International Development for providing
substantial funding for the ICPEN meeting in Costa Rica as part of a larger project initiative under the Central America Free Trade Agreement. This initiative strengthens ties between the FTC and several Latin American consumer protection and competition agencies, increasing cooperation in law enforcement and policy work.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.