A sweep of Internet sites engaging in 'misleading and deceptive claims' has revealed how optimistic the human spirit can really be.
Australia proved to be a hotbed of scamming activity in the global sweep resulting in more than a dozen legal proceedings by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
International Marketing Supervision Network (IMSN) which undertook the sweep is made up of law enforcement agencies in 30 countries; plans for 2003 are being discussed at the current IMSN meeting held in Sydney this week.
Dubious sites of notable mention picked up in the sweeps include a Victorian business marketing a multicoloured shirt that makes the wearer more intelligent and perceptive and another that claims to reverse the ageing process.
Magnetic devices that cure a range of ailments were also popular along with a slimming device to "tone your muscles in a one-hour session to the equivalent of a seven-hour workout in the gym". Amazingly, the buyer must lie down when using the slimming device.
One of the more popular sites was based in Sydney promoting pheromone products that lead to increased eye contact, smiles, dates, sex and self-confidence.
More than 1400 Web sites from around the globe were identified as 'suspicious' by the the IMSN, which has been undertaking regular sweeps since 1997.