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International aid for safer surfing

Website unites countries in fight against net fraud

The US Federal Trade Commission has joined forces with 12 countries including the UK to form an international consumer advice website, in a bid to fight cross-border internet fraud.

"The borderless nature of the [internet] marketplace can frustrate governments' ability to protect consumers," said Robert Pitofsky, Chairman of FTC. "Econsumer.gov will provide a new tool to allow countries to work together to make the internet safer for consumers across the globe."

A password-protected site will provide information to all governments involved in the project, enabling them to keep abreast of fraud issues and to discuss ways of preventing them in the future.

The multilingual consumer website (www.econsumer.gov) will supply information about consumer rights and protection, which will be available in French, German, English and Spanish.

The FTC will host and maintain control over the public website entering all complaints through its existing consumer sentinel network.

The FTC said it received 25,469 complaints of online fraud in the US last year, it hopes to cut down this number through international awareness.

Of the 13 countries already signed up for the project, France and Germany are conspicuous by their absence; so far neither has expressed an interest to join.

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