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Novel EU Regulations To Wipe Out Cross-Border Scams

The European Union will introduce novel measures to fight phishing and email scams. UK Consumer Minister Ian McCartney has made public new regulations to defend businesses and consumers. The government says that e-mail scammers will not be able to take refuge anywhere as a result of these steps. The Minister stated that the Consumer Protection Co-operation (CPC) regulations would enable the authorities to challenge malicious traders who target consumers across European frontiers.

The new regulations, which become effective in January 2007, will lead to the creation of a network of national enforcement agencies that will have the mandate to work in coordination throughout the EU. The UK's coordinating agency will be the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The regulations are aimed at removing obstacles to cross-border enforcement. National enforcement agencies will be obliged to aid one another through sharing of information and cooperation.

The objective is to enable UK consumers to use legal sanction against mischievous traders in EU member countries. The new rules will also lead to more successful action against large cross-country scams and hoaxes that are carried out via spammed e-mails luring people to false lottery gains and prize stakes. The Minister added that phone scams and deceptive advertising or compulsion selling would also be covered.

McCartney said that criminals and hucksters who predated on innocent consumers belonged to the lowest category of men. They would not now be able to defraud people by the hundreds and then conceal themselves behind frontiers away from the clutches of the authorities. He added that coordinated vigilance across the EU would help to eradicate scams and leave the masterminds with no place of refuge. This is all the more welcome since many people buy international products over the Internet or purchase goods when visiting abroad. Consumers could now enjoy greater self-assurance and genuine businesses will be shielded from criminals in the marketplace.

Welcoming the new duties of the organization, OFT chief executive John Fingleton said that the agency had played an important part in framing the Consumer Protection Co-operation Regulation and looked forward to playing the leading role in enforcing it in the UK.

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