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Philippines joins worldwide initiative to protect consumers vs scams

(The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is joining a global move to boost consumer protection against scams.

The Department of Trade and Industry said the Philippines has joined 33 other countries that are part of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) in unveiling an improved version of the econsumer.gov website to help law enforcement authorities gather and share cross border consumer complaints that can be used to investigate and take action against international scams.

“The econsumer.gov is a portal in which Filipino consumers, whether here or abroad, can report international scams. The information they will share will be used by consumer protection agencies from around the world as basis to develop mechanisms to combat and prevent such scams from proliferating,” Trade Undersecretary Victorio Dimagiba said.

ICPEN is an international network of consumer protection authorities that aims to protect consumers’ economic interests around the world by sharing information about cross-border issues and encouraging global cooperation among law enforcement agencies.

The site, which was launched in 2011, is now easier to use with its user- and reader-friendly interface that suits tablet and smart phone browsing, the DTI said.

The Philippines and Vietnam are the only Asean member states that are members of the ICPEN but it is only the DTI that has access to database.

“The DTI can use the complaints in the secure database to investigate cross-border issues, uncover new scams, pursue regulatory or enforcement actions, and spot trends on emerging consumer issues,” the agency said.

“Gaining access to the complaints database of the ICPEN is a highlight development in DTI’s continued effort to strengthen cross-border redress especially in today’s time when threats against the rights and welfare of consumers is no longer isolated in one’s country, but can emanate from any part of the world through the use of internet technology,” it added.

Dimagiba said the DTI is urging all consumers to report international scams through the econsumer.gov website to aid consumer protection agencies in addressing such scams.

He said consumer complaints filed through econsumer.gov are entered into a secure consumer complaint database and are made available to enforcers and regulators in countries with participating agencies.

ACIRC ASEAN CONSUMER DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY DIMAGIBA DTI INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT NETWORK PHILIPPINES AND VIETNAM SCAMS TRADE UNDERSECRETARY VICTORIO DIMAGIBA
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