FTC Gets Out Word on Cyber-Crime

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is urging consumers to be on guard against cyber-criminals and it’s built a Web site and marketing program to arm them with information.

Several companies and associations have signed on to help generate awareness for the Web presence, which lives at OnGuardOnline.gov. They include Microsoft, eBay and the Direct Marketing Association.

The site offers tips and detailed information on resisting spyware, phishing, spam, viruses, data loss and a variety of other mishaps commonly suffered by Internet users. Its centerpiece is a list of seven tips on safer computing entitled “Stop. Think. Click.” which is also available as a printed brochure. Animated Flash quizzes have titles like “Phishing Scams: Avoid the Bait” and “Beware of Spyware.” A separate section lets consumers lodge a complaint against cyber-crime perpetrators.

Promotional efforts are extensive and include several online elements. Microsoft helped create branding and will dedicate MSN banner placements to promote OnGuard Online. The company also contributed several security videos to the site. eBay is posting a letter to its members, along with buttons linking to the site. The Direct Marketing Association has developed a co-branded brochure, which it will share with members.

Additionally, the FTC has made banners and buttons available on OnGuardOnline.gov, and is encouraging Web site owners to use them to direct traffic to the effort.

OnGuard Online maintains a separate brand from the FTC so organizations may easily and flexibly direct constituents and consumers to it, said Nat Wood, an assistant director in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

“Anything any organization would do to get the word out, that’s the idea. None of these relationships are exclusive,” said Wood.

OnGuard Online was developed internally, with development support from JDG Communications.

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