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Copycat Website Warning

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8:00am 16th March 2014

Cornwall is warned to make sure we are using official government websites when paying for services.

It is after a string of complaints about copycat sites.

North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson says cases include driving school pupils in Bude who were duped into paying too much for their tests.

Now Trading Standards is getting extra money to investigate.

Dan Rogerson said: "Many copycat websites look very similar to the official government website and charge people un-necessary fees or extra charges.

"I have been contacted recently by a constituent who was duped into spending an extra £40 they didn't need to by a rogue website claiming to offer DVLA services, and one driving instructor in Bude has told me how several of his pupils have ended up paying extra to book their driving test through copycat websites.

"I have raised these cases with government ministers and I am glad that my Lib Dem colleague Jenny Willott is giving Trading Standards the resources they need to crack down on these unofficial websites. I would urge anyone booking or paying for government services online to double check the small print and that they are using the official website."

Consumer Minister Jenny Willott MP said: "Misleading websites which dupe people into believing they are using the official government channel need to be stopped in their tracks. The unfortunate reality is that a minority are exploiting those who are perhaps less web-savvy and we need to clamp down on them. These rogues that con people out of their hard earned cash need to know that the full glare of Trading Standards is now on them."

Chair of the National Trading Standards Board, Lord Toby Harris added: "Copycat websites that deceive consumers are a growing problem. This additional government support to help tackle this challenge is most welcome. By working together in this way we look forward to reducing consumer detriment and supporting legitimate businesses."

There will be an additional £120,000 this financial year to National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) so they can investigate these websites.

8:00am 16th March 2014

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