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Office of Fair Trading gets on the get rich quick case

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The Office of Fair Trading has issued e-mail alerts to 100 potentially misleading Web sites offering "get rich quick scams", warning them that they could face prosecution. The scambusting clampdown was part of a co-ordinated sweep of the Net conducted by authorities in 27 countries and led by the US Federal Trade Commission. In all, consumer organisations around the globe identified 1600 sites during operation GetRichQuick.Con. Officials trawled the Net for three hours searching for bogus homeworking schemes, business and investment opportunities, lotteries, pyramid and multi-level marketing plans, money-making clubs and chain letters. John Bridgeman, DG of Fair Trading, said: "People should be wary of claims that large amounts of money can be earned for little or no effort in an extremely short timescale." "If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is," he said. Officials will re-visit all 1600 sites in a month to see whether any improvements have been made. If not, consumer organisations will consider launching investigations, which could lead to prosecutions. This is the third time the OFT has taken part in a sweep of the Net looking for "dubious" sites. Last time, it looked at health sites offering misleading claims and miracle cures. It wouldn't say when it would target IT news sites... ahem. ®

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