UK.gov invests £4.3m in cyber-scam crackdown team
Scam sites targeted by e-Untouchables lite
Updated The UK government has launched a specialist cyber-enforcement team and allocated extra funding for Trading Standards as part of a campaign designed to clamp down on online scams.
OFT figures suggest online scams claim 3 million UK marks every year and result in losses of £3.5bn. Approaches most often arrive in the form of scam emails.
The government is investing £4.3m over three years in a bid to clamp down on this growing source of crime. The money will allow the training and appointment of specialist trading standards enforcers in every region of England and in Scotland and Wales and the establishment of local computer labs.
Online ticket scams and scam websites that offer goods but deliver nothing in return will be main focus for the new teams. The OFT teams will target the most serious cyber-scams. Cases will continue to be passed to the police, Serious and Organised Crime Agency and other investigative agencies. The role of the OFT can loosely be compared to that of the US Federal Trade Commission though, of course, the OFT's budget and resources are far less.
Consumer Minister Kevin Brennan said: "Our investment will help the OFT and Trading Standards to put in place the new specialist teams, training and technology required to take the fight to these criminals."
An OFT spokesman explained told us that teams and remits were in the process of getting set up adding that numbers of staff were been "finalised". While the initial focus will be on scam websites and ticket fraud it is possible the agency may get involved in investigating cases of auction fraud, one of the most prevalent types of cybercrime, over time.
The Government recently established the Action Fraud, run by the National Fraud Authority, and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which will be run through the City of London Police and will tackle the most serious and harmful fraud. Meanwhile the recently established Police Central eCrime Unit within the Metropolitan Police will tackle large-scale internet crime, including internet–enabled fraud. The OFT team is focused on dealing with consumer reports of cyber-crimes which might otherwise slip through the net.
Victims of fraud are advised to contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk. Consumer Direct can provide advice and pass on complaints to the appropriate agency, such as the OFT. ®
Another pointless, headline - grabbing waste of money initiative by Brown and his gang of idiots
You can't legislate against gullibility...
In my experience most scams, whether email, surfing or (since a century before the internet) the postbox, are aimed at the greedy and/or the gullible. Most scams shouldn't fool a child - but 1000s seem to fall for them every year. I've read stories in the press, or seen them on TV, of scam victims whose stupidity simply strains credulity. The Nigerian scam, for instance, is STILL fooling people - and that's been going on in some form or other for over a century at least.
A TV documentary some time ago had a (suitably anonymised) con artist telling the interviewer his philosophy. A simple matter as he saw it. The mark was ready, willing - even eager - to be parted from his money. All it took was to tempt his greed. The conman's excuse being that if he didn't take the mark's money, then the next conman down the road would. The mark was going to be conned sooner or later and that was that - if you didn't do it, the next guy would.
Obviously, I DON'T agree with that philosophy - but I can see its saccharin appeal to people looking for easy money. Not that every conman even needs an excuse.
By all means catch and punish scam artists and conmen - if only because they prey so often on the most vulnerable in our society. And that includes big business so much of the time, not just common criminals.
But it must all start with education - preferably, these days via TV and the internet - LOTS of education, not just the occasional gesture. Education for our policemen too, whose computer dyslexia is often disgraceful. If there's money to spare, spend it on alerting and educating people. A nice grant to organisations like scamwarners.com, and more sites and services like them, might be a good step - people who really know their business.
Ultimately, though, as some wit once said, "It is not the business of government to ... preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly."
but nothing will knock trying to use the loss of his daughter for electioneering political capital from the pinnacle of the crassness league table.