Copycat Websites

Learn how to spot copycat websites

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 


The Risks

  • The tradesperson or company you choose may have little to no qualifications and experience which could also lead to dangerous work
  • They may be trading with no public liability or employer liability insurance, so if anything were to go wrong, it would be very a long and difficult process to get it rectified
  • Customer reviews could be faked, leading to results below your business expectations
  • You may pay a lot more than usual for the work being carried out
  • The tradesperson could be disingenuous and request upfront payments with no intention of ever completing the work

Take Action

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 

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
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