News

Cross-border scammers tackled

Antony Savvas

UK consumers will gain better protection from electronic cross-border scams and fraud under new measures announced by consumer minister Ian McCartney.

The Consumer Protection Co-operation (CPC) regulation, which came into force this month, will help tackle rogue traders who prey on consumers across European borders by establishing a network of national enforcement bodies with powers to work together across the EU.

The UK's co-ordinating enforcement body will be the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

While the OFT already protects consumers against scams in the UK, the new measures will improve protection against scams that have originated abroad.

The new measures will tackle cross-border scams including: e-mail scams and illegal prize draws, misleading advertising and pressure selling, phone scams based in other EU countries, and timeshare and holiday club rogue traders.

McCartney said, "Crooks and fraudsters who prey on unsuspecting consumers are the lowest of the low. No longer will they be able to rip off  large numbers of people and then hide behind borders, beyond the reach of the enforcers.”

National enforcement bodies will be required to help each other by exchanging information and co-operating on cross-border cases.

Previously, wide differences in the structures and methods of enforcement authorities have hampered prosecutions.


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