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E-mail scammers face European crackdown

Regulation requiring cooperation among EU prosecutors will leave e-mail predators "nowhere to hide," says U.K. government.

E-mail scammers will be left with "nowhere to hide" following moves to tighten up European consumer protection, according to the U.K. government.

By establishing a network of national enforcement bodies with powers to work together across the European Union, the Consumer Protection Cooperation regulation, which comes into force this month, will help tackle rogue traders who prey on consumers across European borders.

Previously, wide differences in the structures of law enforcement agencies and the methods they use have hampered prosecutions. The new regulations require enforcement authorities to help each other by exchanging information and cooperating on cross-border cases.

The U.K.'s coordinating enforcement body will be the Office of Fair Trading.

The new measures will tackle cross-border scams, including those using e-mail and those that offer phony prizes, distribute misleading advertising and use pressure selling. Also targeted are phone scams based in other EU countries and rogue traders of time-share and vacation club properties.

"Joined-up enforcement across the EU will help to stamp out scams and leave the sharks with nowhere to hide," Consumer Minister Ian McCartney said in a statement.

Steve Ranger of reported from London.