The Fraud Prevention project is a series of education campaigns run every year by ICPEN countries under one theme but focusing on an issue relevant to each individual participating agency.
Through this initiative we educate market participants about scams and furnish them with appropriate information on how to protect themselves from falling prey to unfair businesses.
Each year more and more member countries of ICPEN implement various Fraud Prevention Month activities. For example in 2009, 29 countries participated in this initiative.
What do we focus on in particular? We have addresses such topics as:
• deceptive and aggressive retail tactics used to lure consumers into an agreement,
• identity theft,
• misleading advertising,
• legal requirements concerning pricing information and labeling,
• online shopping,
• false lottery and business directories,
• health fraud.
Often our campaigns target particular audiences including the young, the elderly, small businesses and charities, and have a range of community, non-government, and private sector organizations as partners.
This year the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority of the Republic of Lithuania concentrated on the fraud prevention in the step door selling contracts reacting to the increasing number of consumer complaints. The main goal of the information campaign was to draw consumers' attention to the possible breaches in such situations and provide both concentrate and clear information about consumer rights and duties buying goods at home for the not solicited agent.
During the Fraud Prevention Month 2013, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) warned in a press campaign against misleading or dubious promises of winning and competitions. As consumers often have to deal with untrustworthy promises of prizes or attractive competitions which bear risks, BVL has compiled the most important tips for consumers with regard to the risks and the handling of competitions or the promises of prizes.
The project of The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) called “Surfer haben Rechte” runs the website www.surfer-haben-rechte.de (http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xbcr/digitalrechte/Flyer_Projekt_Verbraucherrechte_in_der_digitalen_Welt.pdf).
The aim of the project is to empower German consumers to actively use the internet and to gain self confidence in using the worldwide web. The website provides information on many topics: data protection, social networks, online games etc.
During the last months the project has informed consumers about their rights with regard to downloaded ebooks. Is it a purchase like buying a book in an offline bookshop or does the consumer just have the right to use the ebook? Is he or she allowed to sell the ebook? The website further provides the information about what is allowed and what is forbidden concerning the use of data files. (http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xchg/digitalrechte/hs.xsl/75_2391.htm; see also: http://irights.info/was-darf-man-mit-dateien-aus-online-shops-machen ). In addition there are pending two court cases of vzbv concerning the resale of ebooks.
From October to December 2012, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) conducted third edition of an information and education campaign 'Be an Aware Consumer', aiming at raising senior consumers' awareness about their rights and learning them how to protect their interests in relations with rogue traders. The campaign consisted of 35 free-of-charge lectures organized in 15 voivodships. The lectures were held in seniors’ clubs, community homes, at the third age universities and other public places gathering elderly people (e.g. parish offices). They were divided into two parts: informative one presenting consumer rights, conducted by consumer experts (mostly consumer ombudsmen) and second – presenting practical methods of resolving disputes with entrepreneurs and dealing with misleading advertising, conducted by psychologists. All the lectures’ participants received information materials: a brochure and a leaflet.
L'objectif de la campagne est de sensibiliser les consommateurs et professionnels aux différents types d'arnaques auxquels ils doivent faire face.
Fraud Prevention Month (FPM) is a month-long annual education campaign that addresses the issue of fraud and helps ensure confidence in the Canadian marketplace. The Competition Bureau Canada (Bureau) plays an important role in building consumer confidence by discouraging deceptive business practices and encouraging the provision of sufficient information to allow Canadian consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. This generated the 2012 theme: “Building Consumer Confidence”.
Since 2004, the Fraud Prevention Forum (Forum), chaired by the Bureau, has organized FPM in Canada. Activities and events are conducted by Forum members during the month of March with the aim to raise awareness and educate consumers and businesses about the dangers of fraud in the Canadian marketplace. The Forum has 138 members, including public sector and law enforcement agencies, provincial and federal governmental departments, and business and consumer groups.
On March 5-9 2012, the Consumer Protection Federal Agency (Profeco, by its acronym in Spanish language) of Mexico carried out the 2012´s Fraud Prevention Month Campaign. Through an article in the printed version of the Consumer Magazine Profeco provided consumers with adequate information in order to browse safely on the Internet, as well as tips to make online purchases avoiding being victim of possible misleading and deceptive commercial practices and frauds.
The National Consumer Agency regularly seeks to increase scams awareness among the general public and also generate media interest in this area. In the year to date, we have produced 5 news stories on scams related activity including general awareness, cyber crime, doorstep scams and so-called "boiler room" scams. In addition we produced a guide for supporters to the Euro 2012 football championships, which included information on match ticket scams. We also regularly post details of current scams on facebook.
In 2010 the Austrian FPM was conducted in order to get an idea of the extent of the problems consumers face in concerns of ‘cold calling’ . The results led, inter alia, to an amendment to the Austrian Consumer Protection Act (Konsumentenschutzgesetz), which was passed in 2011 and was set into force on 1st May 2011.
To evaluate the amendment of 2011 for this year’s FPM a homepage was launched and a hotline was implemented by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (BMASK) to collect consumer complaints. Like in 2010 the Austrian Consumers’ Organisation, VKI (Verein für Konsumenteninformation), administered and monitored the homepage and finally evaluated the inputs of the consumers. We plan to publish the report in this autumn.
Firstly,we emphasized key points and deployed the investigation on some important and effective cases ,which is aimed at luggage leather goods, home appliances, liquor market and other key commodities and markets, effectively purifying the market environment and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.
Secondly,we launched a specialized campaign against counterfeit cigarettes ，pass-off activities and so on.
Thirdly,we try to advance the publicity.We actively participate in the "3·15", "4·26" and other intellectual property protection publicity campaigns,to publicize our work of striking infringement , display work, raise public awareness of intellectual property protection.
Finally,we try to strengthen law enforcement cooperation.In 2012, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the General Administration of Customs signed the "General Administration of customs and State Administration for Industry and commerce collaboration memorandum",in order to cooperate with customs in the field of trademark information and clues provided,preventing the counterfeit merchandise exports together.