IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

25 fake government websites closed down

Five people have been arrested for running fake scam websites, imitating government services

Offline

Five people have been arrested for operating websites offering to help web users pay tax or apply for driving licences and passports.

The operatives were actually scamming the visitors, taking their money and identities but not providing the goods and were arrested under the Fraud Act.

The Advertising Standards Authority and Citizens Advice received 5,700 complaints about the websites, which all included misleading web addresses, ending in variations of the 'gov.uk' domain suffix, such as 'govuk' and 'directgov'.

Jo Swinson, Minister for Consumer Affairs, said: "The enforcement action which the National Trading Standards eCrime team has taken demonstrates the government's commitment to tackling these scammers. We will not let them get away with misleading consumers."

In total, 25 websites offering the services have now also been closed down, saving thousands of people from falling into the scam traps.

Swinson said: "It's great that it's becoming easier and more common to use the internet to order official documents such as passports or tax discs, but people should be aware of rogue websites that are out there trying to exploit them and take their hard-earned cash and even put them at risk of identity theft.

"The enforcement action which the National Trading Standards eCrime team has taken demonstrates the government's commitment to tackling these scammers. We will not let them get away with misleading consumers."

Adverts promoting the fake websites have also been removed, with the help of Google and Bing.

The National Trading Standards Board's chairman Lord Harris said: "We have been working with search engines such as Google and Bing to remove adverts from online search results and we continue to gather intelligence across the country to help tackle this issue. We urge you to avoid unofficial websites which could leave you out of pocket or at risk of identity theft."

The manhunt was part of the government's campaign to educate people about using misleading websites, including those pretending to be part of the government's online services.

Featured Resources

Accelerating healthcare transformation through patient-centred medtech solutions

Seize the digital transformation opportunities to streamline patient care and optimise patient outcomes

Free Download

Big payoffs from big bets in AI-powered automation

Automation disruptors realise 1.5 x higher revenue growth

Free Download

Hyperscaler cloud service providers top ten

Why it's important for companies to consider hyperscaler cloud service providers, and why they matter

Free Download

Strategic app modernisation drives digital transformation

Address business needs both now and in the future

Free Download

Recommended

DCMS to consider establishing national institution for UK semiconductor industry
Hardware

DCMS to consider establishing national institution for UK semiconductor industry

6 Dec 2022
Defra's legacy software problem 'threatens' UK gov cyber security until 2030
Business strategy

Defra's legacy software problem 'threatens' UK gov cyber security until 2030

6 Dec 2022
Netherlands urges citizens to prepare survival kits in case hackers target critical infrastructure
cyber attacks

Netherlands urges citizens to prepare survival kits in case hackers target critical infrastructure

2 Dec 2022
UK government to run Starlink trials in Snowdonia, Lake Distict
Network & Internet

UK government to run Starlink trials in Snowdonia, Lake Distict

1 Dec 2022

Most Popular

Empowering employees to truly work anywhere
Sponsored

Empowering employees to truly work anywhere

22 Nov 2022
Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor resigns with cryptic parting message
Business operations

Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor resigns with cryptic parting message

1 Dec 2022
Netherlands urges citizens to prepare survival kits in case hackers target critical infrastructure
cyber attacks

Netherlands urges citizens to prepare survival kits in case hackers target critical infrastructure

2 Dec 2022