FTC Mulls Rewards for Those Who Identify Spammers

The Federal Trade Commission is considering rewarding people to rat on spammers.

But the FTC said in a report issued last week that the idea faces major obstacles: locating the spammer, collecting evidence that will stand up in court and offering a big enough reward to justify the risks, Information Week reported.

Snitches for the Internal Revenue Service have earned more than $35 million over the last 30 years. The IRS, for its part, credits the program for spurring delinquents to pay $2.1 billion in back taxes during the same timeframe, according to the FTC's director of internal communications.

At the same time, however, the Securities and Exchange Commission has had little luck with its reward program. In the last 10 years, only three bounties have been awarded.

Allen Hile, an assistant director in the Division of Marketing Practices at the FTC, said bounty programs have had mixed success. The problem is making the reward more profitable than the crime and securing funding for the initiative.

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