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EC promises to reduce e-commerce fraud

21 March 2013 - 09:48 by Graham Miller

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While online shopping has become safer over the years, there are still hundreds of millions of pounds worth of fraudulent transactions carried out by criminal groups after the duping of innocent consumers.

The European Commission is hoping that its new initiative to reduce the impact of e-commerce scams will make it easier for people across the continent to enjoy safe shopping online, without the associated risks.

All EU nations are currently bound by the rules of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which basically makes it illegal for businesses to engage in questionable activities, which could end up harming consumers.

Now the EC is reviewing this directive to improve its effectiveness and administer any adjustments that are necessary.

The directive deals not only with outright data and identity theft, but will also prevent retailers from indulging in other unacceptable practices, such as using hidden advertising and creating offers which are misleading.

Spokesperson, Vivienne Reding, said that the EC's secondary aim, aside from improving safe shopping online, was to bolster the single market by making it easier for consumers to shop across borders.

At the moment the proportion of consumers who are willing to buy items from websites not based in their own countries is relatively small, but with the Europe-wide directive protecting their rights, it should be safer to do so than ever before.

Reding said that the EC would need to show that it was not only attempting to legislate against rogue traders, but that it was also willing to enforce its rules, so that consumer confidence can grow.

Growing awareness of e-commerce has meant that various regulatory bodies have begun to throw their weight around online, resulting in more cases of false advertising and fraud being detected. Hopefully, the creation of further powers will make it harder for criminals to operate.