Internet Commerce


The rapid increase in the number of internet users and the greater availability of high-speed internet connections has led to substantial growth in e-commerce. A sharp increase in internet fraud and a tidal wave of unsolicited commercial e-mails, commonly known as spam, have followed. Consumers are losing money to internet fraud. The Federal Bureau of Investigation received 467,361 complaints about internet fraud in 2019, causing more than $3.5 billion in reported losses. This is likely a low estimate, as so many instances of fraud, including internet fraud, go unreported.



Protections against spam

Consumers should be protected against e-mail spam. They should easily be able to opt out of receiving e-mails. It should be unlawful to misrepresent the sender, subject, or content of e-mail. Regulators should create and enforce a do-not-spam list. Violators should face criminal penalties.

Federal legislation should not preempt states’ right to strengthen their anti-spam protections.

Regulatory options for controlling spam

The Federal Trade Commission should make it unlawful to misrepresent the sender, subject, or content of a spam message. Reliable contact information or a reliable opt-out system must be provided. It should be unlawful to violate a prior opt-out request.