CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Two dozen countries participated last week in a three-day crackdown on scam Web sites that try to swindle visitors with get-rich-quick and other schemes.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was leading consumer protection agencies from the United States, Britain, Canada and other countries on a search for sites that make claims "too good to be true," commission Deputy Chair Louise Sylvan said.

The primary targets were offers that promise a lot but often have large startup fees, added costs and "grossly exaggerated earning potential," the commission said.

"The point is to clean it up, to send a strong message that we want consumers to be safe shopping on the Net and that we're out there watching," Sylvan said.

The Internet sweep was being conducted through the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network of consumer protection authorities from 31 countries.

The sweeps, of which this is the sixth since 1999, have had "varied success," Sylvan said.

In 2002, there were 1,400 specific sites on health identified worldwide as suspicious, she said. About 210 are still under investigation, but 74 cases led to settlements, she said.

Sigi Goode, an Internet expert at the Australian National University, called the effort a waste of time, noting that sites once shuttered can easy pop up again elsewhere.

Goode said resources would be better used on fighting junk e-mail because "you would see a lot of these types of sites disappear if you could do that."