The UK is one of 13 countries backing an online project to fight cross-border Internet fraud and bolster consumer confidence in e-commerce.
The project, spearheaded by a multi-lingual Web site entitled econsumer.gov, is aimed at both consumers and international trade law enforcement authorities. It aims to provide the public with information about consumer protection and guidelines for shopping online.
Links provide access to consumer protection Web sites in the 13 different countries, and there is a facility for submitting online complaints.
A second site, which is password-protected, will allow participating governments, law enforcement agencies and consumer protection groups to access a database of consumer complaint data and information relating to cross-border Internet fraud. It is hoped this will promote international co-operation between agencies.
Supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the initiative is the result of collaboration between the International Marketing Supervision Network, a body formed by the trade law enforcement agencies in more than 24 countries, and the Consumer Sentinel Network, an automated database of consumer complaints run by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The public Web site will be hosted and maintained by the FTC, which will control the site's data.
The 13 countries involved in the initiative are: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.