Feeds

UK probes ‘too good to be true’ Internet offers

176 sites dredged up during trawl for Web bottom-feeders

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Infographic

An international trawl for the bottom-feeders of the Internet has dredged up 176 UK websites making claims that are "too good to be true", the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) reports.

While this will come as no surprise to battle-hardened scam-spotters such as El Reg, the OFT is to be applauded for its efforts to expose these charlatans before some fool and his money are well and truly parted.

The sweep was carried out by the OFT and 30 local trading standards departments as part of a 31-country International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network initiative.

The UK sites unearthed included "90 working from home schemes, 52 get rich quick schemes, 20 lottery scams, 15 free prize offers, and four sites offering educational qualifications".

Some of the familiar lines of attack deployed by these were:

  • a working from home scheme offering business opportunities that will significantly increase income, e.g. over £2,500 per month, without specifying how this is done and only provided mobile telephone numbers
  • a lottery scam which provided no contact details but claimed '100% guaranteed, no risk of loss whatsoever...'
  • a free prize draw offering '£3 a night for a luxury hotel accommodation' but consumers must send £49.95 obtain a Directory which contains discount vouchers.
  • a 'get rich quick' scheme claiming that in 24 hours people could raise £198,000.

Yes, it's all horribly familiar. Mercifully, the OFT confirms that those websites "identified by the sweep as potentially breaching consumer protection regulations are being pursued by local trading standards or the OFT with a view to taking further action".

Good show. As for the international operation, it uncovered a total of 1847 sites. The OFT's Director of Consumer Regulation and Enforcement, Christine Wade, noted: "The internet is used by fraudsters who seek to take advantage of international boundaries to avoid detection. Cross border co-operation is therefore important for combating this area of consumer detriment." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.