Washington, June 17 (Reuters): The US and 29 other countries today announced an effort to track down spammers, telemarketers and other scam artists who operate across international borders.
The agreement would make it easier for governments to investigate and apprehend fraudsters who operate on a global basis, officials with the US Federal Trade Commission and several other countries said. The Internet and plunging long-distance telephone rates have made it easier for scam artists to pitch miracle health cures, get-rich-quick schemes and other fraudulent products to a global audience.
Complaints about international fraud nearly doubled to 30,798 last year, according to FTC statistics, while Nigerian e-mail hucksters fleeced US residents out of at least $100 million last year, according to the customs service. Even spammers based in the US commonly route their messages through overseas computers to cover their tracks, experts say.
The 30 mostly European and North American member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development agreed to work together to fight cross-border fraud, beef up their own consumer-protection laws where necessary, and make it easier for consumers to recover damages.