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Government launches cyber team to tackle counterfeit selling

Simon Quicke

Government attempts to tighten the screws on illegal web activity has moved to focus on those selling fake goods online.

The establishment of a cyber security team has been accompanied by extra funding for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Trading Standards.

Trading Standards had been actively working with the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST IiS) in combating the spread of unlicensed software with some success in terms of raiding premises.

The latest approach, backed by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) is to spend £4.3m over three years on a cyber enforcement team and the trading standards activities to protect users against online scams.


"The internet is rapidly transforming the way we shop. It presentsmassive opportunities for consumers, but unfortunately it also harboursfraudsters who can leave consumers upset and out of pocket," saidconsumer minister Kevin Brennan.

The targets of the new effortsinclude targeting those selling counterfeit goods as well as thosetraders who try to hide their identities so customers have no chance toget redress.

"Online consumer protection is a key priority forthe OFT. The enforcement team will be looking at the activities of awide range of commercial websites and taking action in cases whereconsumers' rights are being abused," said Heather Clayton seniordeirector at the OFT.

The government is supporting the counterfeit attack with a website, www.consumerdirect.gov.uk and phone line, 08454 040506 that people who have become victims of scams can contact.

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