NEW YORK - The not-for-profit network formed by American Express Co. to help combat online fraud has officially launched it Web site, merchantfraudsquad.com.

Officials of the Worldwide E-Commerce Fraud Prevention Network, which American Express will fund for its first year, said the site should help merchants of any size. Its content includes instructions for reporting hacking incidents, a quiz to gauge a Web site's security, and technology and privacy tips.

Other founding members of the organization include the travel company Expedia Inc., the payment processor First Data Corp., the software vendor ClearCommerce Corp., and Amazon.com. Since September, 388 companies have joined the network, including RadioShack Corp., RealNetworks Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores.

Jennifer Bennett, a vice president at American Express and co-chairwoman of the anti-fraud network, said merchants cannot deal with this problem just by protecting themselves. They "can be vulnerable to a wide range of criminal tactics, even if their own Web sites are secure," she said in a press release.

Merchants do not pay to join the network but have to maintain certain security and privacy standards and encryption and employee monitoring practices.

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