World NET to trap dodgy online scammers

HUNDREDS of public servants from around the world will surf the Internet for offers of penis or breast enlargements, hair-loss treatment, easy weight-loss pills and get-rich-quick schemes for the next three days.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said yesterday it will co-ordinate consumer protection agencies from 24 countries to uncover websites which make claims that are "too good to be true". About 10 per cent of all Internet traffic is believed to be online scams, according to the watchdog.

Business opportunities which make you a millionaire by working from home for only a few hours a week, free gifts and incredible discounts will be scrutinised by ACCC officers in Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart, Darwin, Townsville and Perth.

At the same time, the other countries participating in the the International Internet Sweep will examine similar websites originating from their own nations.

Potential scam websites will be sent an e-mail to alert the promoters they have been noticed by authorities and that Internet advertising is subject to the same laws as traditional marketing and trade practices rules.

The watchdogs will then compare notes and may take legal action against promoters who use dodgy marketing practices.

"Scammers are increasingly using the Internet to try and make a fast dollar and take advantage of vulnerable consumers," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.

He said scammers used the Internet to avoid detection.

International net to trap dodgy online scammers
The Advertiser
By FLEUR ANDERSON in Canberra
11feb04




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