FTC, Partners Launch New Cross-Border Fraud Section of OnGuard Online
Officials from the Federal Trade Commission and Canadian consumer protection agencies met in Ottawa today to kick off March as Fraud Prevention Month. The initiative is part of an international effort to raise public awareness worldwide of the dangers of fraud, while educating the public on how to recognize and report it. The representatives from the FTC, Canada’s Competition Bureau, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Ontario Provincial Police explained how cross-border partnerships are key in fighting the global scourge of fraud.
“People operating frauds are increasingly using international borders to try and escape the consequences of their actions,” said C. Steven Baker, Director of the FTC’s Midwest Region. “The U.S. and Canada are leading the world in showing that we can work together and protect consumers on both sides of the border.”
As part of the initiative, the FTC today is launching a new section about cross-border online fraud on www.OnGuardOnline.gov, an educational site with information to help computer users be safe online. Available in both English and Spanish, the site offers information about common scams and tips for avoiding them, as well as instructions on reporting fraud. For example, consumers should not respond to solicitors who offer to help them buy tickets or split winnings – victims of foreign lottery scams have lost thousands of dollars. Other topics include foreign money offers, like the “Nigerian” scam, and foreign check overpayment schemes.
OnGuardOnline.gov also covers other online safety topics, including spyware, identity theft, phishing, and spam scams. The multimedia, interactive consumer education campaign was launched last fall by the FTC and a partnership of other federal agencies and the technology industry. There is no copyright on the quizzes or other information on OnGuardOnline.gov; the information can be downloaded by companies and other organizations to use in their own computer security programs.
In addition to the new information on OnGuardOnline.gov, the FTC will feature the Fraud Prevention Month Web banner on its cross-border website and on www.consumer.gov, and continue to distribute its adapted version of “Fraud: Recognize it. Report it. Stop it.” in print and online.
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 (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), 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/ftc/complaint.htm. 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.
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