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Cyber-scammers, beware!
March 23, 2000: 4:56 p.m. ET

International law-enforcement alliance seeks to crack down on Internet fraud
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Law enforcement officials from around the globe Thursday unveiled a new international, online partnership program aimed at fighting fraud on the Internet.
    The new program, called GetRichQuick.Con, aims to assist authorities in discovering, tracking and prosecuting frauds perpetrated over the World Wide Web.
    Gathering a the offices of the Federal Trade Commission Thursday, representative from a coalition of 150 organizations in 28 countries -- including seven U.S. federal agencies and 49 state and local consumer protection agencies -- threw down the gauntlet.
    They told Web scammers, who often defraud people in one country from a location across its borders, that the long arm of the law is just a mouse click away.
    "Internet con artists are bad actors without borders," said Jodie Bernstein, the director of FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
    "We want them to know that the borderless Internet marketplace is not a free zone," Bernstein said. "Together with our partners, we are putting get-rich-quick schemes on notice that we're monitoring the Web and that we intend to take law enforcement action against those that continue to make fraudulent or deceptive claims."
    Participants in the new program, operating mostly during the week of Feb. 28, surfed the Web looking for bogus work-at-home offers, business opportunity scams, pyramid schemes, illegal lotteries and other sites offering easy money, the FTC said.
    When a suspicious promotion was discovered, a team member anywhere in the world would send information and evidence on it directly to an FTC-administered database through a password-protected Web site, it said.
    The agency said it is now e-mailing warnings to the targeted sites.
    "It's an amazing and diverse team," said Bernstein. "Fraud fighters from the U.K. to Uruguay, from Korea to Kansas, have collected and forwarded information to the FTC on more than 1,600 suspect sites."
    The Securities and Exchange Commission's CyberForce staff, charged with monitoring the Internet for violation of U.S. securities laws, ran across 100 suspect Internet get-rich-quick schemes in the sweep, 90 of which were referred to the FTC for further monitoring, a SEC official said. Back to top
    -- from staff and wire reports


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