Copycat Websites

Learn how to spot copycat websites
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Could you identify copycat websites?

 

These websites are fake replicas of real government department or agency sites, with everything from the branding and logos copied to the services. These copycat websites offer the same services for more money, claiming it’s a ‘quicker’ and ‘easier’ process than using the legitimate website. Cybercriminals use SEO tools to ensure their fraudulent websites rank highly on search engines, even possibly higher than the real website. As their website is ranking highly, people trust it and believe it is safe to use. Also, if it’s at the top, most people won’t scroll far down the search results page.

It’s important for businesses to avoid copycat websites. As businesses require legal documents for certain things, it’s important that these are legitimate 

 

Risks


By choosing to use and access a copycat website, you will be paying a lot more for legal documents such as:

  • Passports
  • Birth ad Death Certificates
  • Fishing Licenses
  • Driving Licenses
  • Congestion Charge
  • European Health Insurance Cards

Take Action

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Things to watch out for

  • Sites that are ‘Not Secure’ without the padlock symbol in the address bar
  • Higher than expected prices
  • Claims of a ‘quicker’ and ‘easier’ process
  • Documents not arriving or appearing to be fake 
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Protect yourself and your business

  • Don’t instantly pick the first website you see in the search results
  • Look for official sites, these tend to end in ‘.gov.uk’
  • If you choose to use an unofficial site, ensure there is a padlock in the address bar and the words ‘secure’ if you are going to make any payments

Report it!

  • Contact the site for a refund as you have been mislead
  • If the site don’t give you a refund, contact your bank 
  • Contact the official site so they can report this
  • Phone us immediately on 0800 680 00 88 and report it to Action Fraud