The Federal Trade Commission and consumer protection agencies in 33 other countries that are part of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) unveiled an updated version of ICPEN’s econsumer.gov to help law enforcement authorities gather and share cross border consumer complaints that can be used to investigate and take action against international scams.
ICPEN is an international network of consumer protection authorities that aims to protect consumers’ economic interests around the world by sharing information about cross-border issues and encouraging global cooperation among law enforcement agencies.
ICPEN members announced the updated econsumer.gov website today during ICPEN’s semi-annual, network-wide meeting held from October 13-16 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Hosted by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the semi-annual meeting brought together investigators and attorneys from agencies around the world for enforcement training.
Econsumer.gov originally was launched in 2001. The new and improved website has a fresh look, is easier to use, and is reader-friendly on tablets and smart phones.
“Increasingly, we live in a cross-border world in which consumers buy goods and services from around the globe, so the Econsumer.gov website is a valuable means of detecting and combating unlawful practices that are occurring across national boundaries,” said Nisha Arora, ICPEN President and CMA Senior Director, Consumer. “I encourage anyone who has encountered a problem that crosses national borders to send the details to econsumer.gov.”
Econsumer.gov is now available in eight languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish. The website also has an updated, user-friendly complaint form and provides information for consumers on additional steps they can take to resolve their complaints, complaint trend data, and consumer news from ICPEN members. The website will eventually feature additional consumer education resources.
Consumer complaints filed through econsumer.gov are entered into Consumer Sentinel, a complaint database maintained by the FTC, and are made available to enforcers and regulators in countries with participating agencies. Those agencies may use the complaints to investigate cross-border issues, uncover new scams, pursue regulatory or enforcement actions, and spot consumer trends.
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 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
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Hui Ling Goh