What would it take to get someone to turn in one of those spammers who send millions of unwanted e-mails? At least $100,000, the Federal Trade Commission figures.
Six-figure incentives are the only way to persuade people to disclose the identity of co-workers, friends and others they know are responsible for flooding online mailboxes with unsolicited pitches for prescription drugs, weight loss plans and other products, according to an agency report Thursday.
The commission said a government-funded reward system could work if the payoff was between $100,000 and $250,000 — higher than rewards in most high-profile criminal and terrorism cases. For example, the FBI (news – web sites) pays $50,000 for tips leading to the arrests of most of its top 10 fugitives.
The FTC, in a report requested by Congress, did not take a position on whether such a system was a good idea.
The report said any reward should come from taxpayer funds because collection of civil penalties from spammers will not be enough to finance the system, according to Allen Hile, assistant director in the agency’s division of marketing practices.