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Posted 08 July 2014 | 0 Comments

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced the launch of a high priority crack down on copycat websites who masquerade as official providers of government services.

To date, the ASA (along with Citizens Advice) have received upwards of 5,700 complaints regarding misleading sites and in many cases these websites profit from the sale of services which should actually be free.

In a report published on their (hopefully official) website, the ASA described “certain aspects of copycat sites that some people found hard to distinguish from official sites” such as the use of crown logos and prominent disclaimers.

Advertising Standards Authority

Image: Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) 

With a precedence-setting ruling due in the near future over one such case, you can expect that the owners of many of these copycat sites will begin to be targeted.

The ASA also announced their plans to lend their PR and Social Media support to Gov.uk’s digital #StartAtGOVUK campaign. The campaign is hoped to raise awareness of these copycat sites and advise web users to only trust sites that are, or are linked from a .gov address.

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