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Consumer Authority opens hotline for misleading lotteries

Each year, in the Netherlands and worldwide, hundreds of thousands of consumers fall prey to misleading lotteries and misleading prize festivals. Recent British research has revealed that people in every class of society can become the victim of misleading practices like this.

To protect consumers better against this situation, the Netherlands Consumer Authority [Consumentenautoriteit] is launching a campaign called: "Als het te mooi lijkt om waar te zijn dan is het niet waar" (If it seems too good to be true,it isn't true). At ConsuWijzer, the Consumer Authority's information desk, consumers can find information on how to recognise misleading practices and on how to avoid becoming a victim of them. The Consumer Authority is calling on consumers to report misleading practices like these via ConsuWijzer.

In 2007, the Consumer Authority is focusing on misleading lotteries and prize festivals. The Consumer Authority defines 'misleading prize festivals' as promotions that wrongly lead consumers to believe that they have won a prize. Before they can receive the prize, consumers must place one or more orders. In lottery scams, a misleading invitation is used to persuade consumers to transfer money on the assumption that they will then win a major prize.

In its efforts to tackle lottery scams, the Consumer Authority is working closely with the Public Prosecutions Department. In the case of misleading prize festivals, the Consumer Authority is working with the Advertising Code Commission [Stichting Reclame Code] and the Ministry of Justice's games-of-chance project agency. Because many of these practices in the Netherlands have been found to target foreign consumers, the Consumer Authority is also working with fellow foreign regulators.

The Consumer Authority's campaign has been launched in the context of 'fraud prevention month', an initiative of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), to draw the attention of consumers worldwide to fraudulent practices.

ICPEN website