Consumer protection agencies from more than 60 countries have joined with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch the updated International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) website. The website is intended to help member states "identify and respond to consumer challenges that cross international borders" such as international scams. In addition, the website provides new tools and a secure venue for law enforcement bodies around the world to access and share intelligence and consumer data concerning fraudulent practices. It also gives information to consumers about how to shop safely online and what to do to resolve disputes with international vendors.
An associated website, www.econsumer.gov, allows consumers who believe they have been victims of international fraud to file a complaint. Data from the complaints is made available to consumer protection agencies to track emerging scams and detect patterns of fraud around the world. The website is available in English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish.
At a time when fraudsters seem to be expanding their global reach, this type of cooperation should prove helpful to both consumers and to businesses interested in supporting strong, basic consumer protection standards worldwide.