Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved bipartisan legislation introduced by Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, which protects American consumers from online fraud.
H.R. 6131, sponsored by Bono Mack and Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-1), reauthorizes the U.S. SAFE WEB Act of 2006, extending important consumer protections to all Americans. The SAFE WEB Act is a critically important law used by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to combat cross-border fraud, spam and spyware.
A decade ago, the FTC began to highlight the growing problems it encountered in combating Internet scams and fraud directed at American citizens by online thieves, often-times involving organized crime rings in foreign countries.
By 2005, an estimated 20 percent of consumer complaints the agency received involved fraud originating outside of the United States, costing American consumers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. That led to passage of the U.S. Safe Web Act, which was signed into law in 2006 by President Bush, but expires next year. Congresswoman Bono Mack's legislation extends this important consumer protection and crime-fighting law until 2020.
"Today, with nearly 1.5 billion credit cards in use in the United States, nearly everyone in America has a stake in making certain that the Federal Trade Commission has the powers it needs to combat cross-border fraud, spam and spyware," Congresswoman Bono Mack said. "The U.S. SAFE WEB Act is good for American consumers. It's good for the future of e-commerce. And it sends an important signal to the rest of the world that online crooks -- no matter where they're located -- will be tracked down and prosecuted. I urge the Senate to join the House and adopt this important bipartisan legislation."
"We applaud Chairman Bono Mack and Ranking Member Butterfield for continuing their commitment to innovative and secure e-commerce," said Michael Zaneis, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Interactive Advertising Bureau. "The IAB believes the U.S. SAFE WEB Act has proven an effective tool, and maintaining the FTC's authority to combat cross-border spam, spyware and fraud is vitally important to the flourishing Internet economy, and provides consumers with the necessary security to take part in trustworthy transactions and online engagement. IAB member companies account for more than $300 billion of economic activity in the United States, and continued e-commerce growth remains the key path toward sustained job creation and U.S. economic strength."