Several government agencies, including the FBI, joined forces with private firms Monday to launch an anti-fraud campaign aimed at nervous online consumers.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Office, the National White Collar Crime Center's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), and the FBI led the "LooksTooGoodToBeTrue" initiative, with corporations including Target and Monster.com supporting the campaign.
"Law enforcement is challenged by Internet schemes because they cannot be confined within national boundaries or investigative jurisdictions," said Louis Reigel, assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division. "It's critical to educate consumers to avoid cyber criminals."
The Internet anti-fraud offensive's cornerstone is a new Web site that offers consumers information on the latest scams, including identity fraud and foreign lotteries; tips to help online users avoid scammers; and a risk assessment tool that shows how vulnerable a consumer is on the Web.
Consumers can also file complaints with the IC3, FTC, or Postal Inspection Service from the site, and order five free DVDs on Internet fraud produced by the Postal Inspection Service.
The campaign couldn't come at a better time. Recent surveys, including last week's WebWatch report from Consumer Reports, have noted a disturbing trend: online problems, including fraud, are chasing consumers off the Internet.