CFTC News Release: #4385-00
For release:     March 23, 2000


WASHINGTON -- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that during the week of February 28, 2000, it participated in an interagency "Internet Surf" with law enforcement and consumer protection agencies from 27 countries. The CFTC alone examined approximately 300 Internet Web sites and identified dozens for follow-up review. These Web sites dangle the promise of quick riches with little or no risk. The sites promote a variety of questionable investment schemes involving commodity futures and options, including: computerized trading systems promising highly successful buy and sell signals; trade recommendations based on seasonal trends in the prices of commodities like heating oil and gasoline; and purported profit opportunities on commodities such as foreign currencies (or "forex"), precious metals, and stock indices. Further information regarding the Internet Surf is available at and

Phyllis Cela, CFTC Acting Director of Enforcement, commented:

"Cooperative efforts like the Internet Surf are an integral part of the CFTC's Internet surveillance program. For all of its benefits, the Internet also has a shady side, affording unscrupulous opportunists the ability to reach millions of people worldwide at very low cost. The CFTC is committed to protecting US customers from predatory sales practices and bogus claims about commodity investment opportunities, wherever they occur. The best protection against this type of fraud, though, is a careful consumer who asks questions and realizes that something that sounds too good to be true probably is."

The CFTC also uses the Internet to disseminate information to the general public through its Consumer Advisories on "Foreign Currency Trading Fraud" and "Sales Pitches Based on Seasonal Demand and Other Public Information." These Advisories alert the public to warning signs of possible fraudulent activity and offer precautions that investors should take before committing funds. The CFTC's Consumer Advisories can be found at the CFTC's Web site at

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