Beware of copycat websites Image: AdobeStock_87212890

Copycat websites are designed to look like Government departments

Trading Standards is urging residents not to fall victim to copycat Government websites. Copycat websites are deliberately designed to look like and offer services of Government departments or local government.

But they will charge a substantial premium for the service, even when it is actually free to do and with no benefit to the customer.

They will tend to have convincing or sometimes a similar address to the official website and often have a similar appearance and ‘brand’ design to look like the official website.

They may claim the process or application is faster or easier. However, you could most probably do it yourself just as quickly and easily and at less of the cost involved.

Trading Standards advice is do not automatically choose the first website you find in a search engine, even if the address seems genuine. Always take your time looking for the official website – government websites will end in “gov.uk”.

If you do opt to use an unofficial website to purchase an official service, make sure the payment page is secure by checking the website address starts with “https://” (the “s” means secure!) and that there is a locked padlock in the address bar at the top of your screen.

Please help protect others from these types of scam, by telling your family and friends about this alert.

If you suspect something maybe a scam, you can report it to us by calling 03454 040506.