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The Federal Trade Commission today issued a Fraud Forum staff report that examines more effective ways to protect consumers from fraudulent schemes and focus the collective knowledge and experience of forum participants to fight fraud. The February 2009 Forum was attended by academics, consumer advocates, industry representatives, and state and federal law enforcers.

The Fraud Forum Report summarizes information presented at the event during panel and small group discussions on a range of issues including: the psychology of scammers and their victims, fraud statistics, under-reported fraud, and the role of private industry in detecting and preventing fraud.

In the report, the FTC staff recommends six ways that the agency can improve the effectiveness of its anti-fraud program:

  • Extending the FTC’s outreach to under-served communities;
  • Improving victim assistance by referring individuals who file complaints to appropriate social services organizations;
  • Combating fraud by enlisting the help of third parties, targeting third-party enablers and facilitators, and initiating a rulemaking under the Telemarketing Sales Rule to address problems related to the use of remotely created checks;
  • Providing law enforcement and legal services organizations with training on the use of new technologies to fight fraud and improving law enforcement coordination;
  • Expanding the number of contributors to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database and making additional fraud data accessible to law enforcers; and
  • Encouraging additional research on victims and fraudsters.

The Commission vote to issue the report was 4-0. It can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release.

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 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 1,700 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.

(FTC File No. P084403)

Contact Information

Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs

Tracey Thomas
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Kathleen Benway
Bureau of Consumer Protection