January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Coalition to Fight Fraud

E-commerce merchants, including buy.com, and Expedia.com, have partnered with American Express, card processors, Paymentech and First Data Corp., and ClearCommerce, a provider of transaction solutions, to form the Worldwide e-Commerce Fraud Prevention Network, an industry coalition aimed at reducing Internet-based fraud.

One of the group's key strategies will be to share fraud prevention information and best practices with merchants to improve web security and decrease the costs associated with fraud.

The Worldwide E-Commerce Fraud Prevention Network will conduct a number of activities to promote increased security.

-- The Network plans to hold fraud prevention workshops and may host a fraud prevention summit next year.

-- The Network has hired Gartner Group, Inc. to conduct an independent study in which they will research and evaluate current and future fraud prevention solutions. The results of this study will be available later this year and shared with all Network members.

-- Gartner Group, Inc will also provide Network members with quarterly white papers on specific fraud prevention topics.

-- The Fraud Prevention Network will have its own web site that will serve as a clearinghouse for information about fraud prevention best practices, software vendors, security seminars, law enforcement organizations and current fraud prevention trends. To help promote consumer confidence in e-commerce, the web site will also include tips for shopping safely online.

-- The Network also expects to partner with consumer groups, law enforcement, better business bureaus and other fraud prevention groups to provide information and encourage best practices.

American Express will fund the Fraud Prevention Network's activities during its first year. The other founding members will provide these resources moving forward.

This funding is key. It will allow the Network to offer free charter membership to any organization or business interested in fighting Internet fraud. However, in order to help improve overall security on the Internet, the Network asks that all members agree to abide by good fraud prevention and security practices, including:

-- Ensuring that all credit card information on their site is encrypted and/or password protected.

-- Maintaining data transmission in a secure environment with limited authorized access.

-- Keeping all security software up-to-date and firewalls properly configured.

-- Contacting law enforcement in any situation where crime is suspected.

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