Consumer minister Jenny Willott has announced an extra £120,000 of funding for the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) has been released to help tackle websites falsely posing as official public services.
A note on the Parliament website revealed last month that complaints had been received about fake sites to apply for services like a European Health Card (EHIC) or driving theory tests appearing in search results.
“Misleading websites which dupe people into believing they are using the official government channel need to be stopped in their tracks,” said Willott.
“The unfortunate reality is that a minority are exploiting those who are perhaps less web-savvy and we need to clamp down on them. These rogues that con people out of their hard earned cash need to know that the full glare of Trading Standards is now on them,” she added.
The government says the extra money will help NTSB investigate and fight these websites. It will now be better equipped to identify and take enforcement action against any websites attempting to pass themselves off as official government services.
“Copycat websites that deceive consumers are a growing problem. These sites frequently encourage consumers to pay a fee or an extra charge for a service that is readily or freely available from the official website,” said Lord Toby Harris, NTSB chairman.
“Moreover, they often require those accessing them to share information that is personal and should be held securely. This additional government support to help take this challenge is most welcome.
“By working together in this way we look forward to reducing consumer detriment and supporting legitimate businesses,” he claimed.