Government crackdown on cyber scams
scams cost 3 million UK consumers £3.5 billion and recent research
from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) shows that email is now the
most common scam approach – 73% of adults have received a scam email
in the past year.
Announcing the formation of a new specialist cyber enforcement team
and extra funding for Trading Standards, Consumer Minister Kevin
Brennan said:- “The internet is rapidly transforming the way
we shop. It presents massive opportunities for consumers, but
unfortunately it also harbours fraudsters who can leave consumers
upset and out of pocket.
So as they get more sophisticated, we need to stay one step ahead.
Our investment will help the OFT and Trading Standards to put in
place the new specialist teams, training and technology required to
take the fight to these criminals.”
The Government is investing £4.3 million over 3 years:-
► OFT’s team has already set up a fully equipped laboratory with
specialist equipment and is being trained by an international
expert. This new functionality adds to the OFT’s capability across
all of its enforcement work from cartels to consumer protection
► new highly trained
trading standards enforcers with specialist equipment will also be
placed in every region of England and in Scotland and Wales.
Online scams the teams will focus on include:-
► fake products and traders who try to hide their identity to avoid
giving consumer redress;
► ticket scams where tickets sold for concerts, festivals, football
games and other events are either counterfeit or non-existent; and
► scam websites
purporting to sell goods that dupe consumers into making what appear
to be bargain purchases, but consumers receive either nothing at all
or counterfeit products.
Heather Clayton, OFT Senior Director, said:- “Online consumer
protection is a key priority for the OFT. The enforcement team will
be looking at the activities of a wide range of commercial websites
and taking action in cases where consumers’ rights are being abused.
Ultimately, giving the public even greater confidence to shop online
is what drives the activities of our enforcement team."
TSI’s chief executive Ron Gainsford said:- “I am delighted to
see this investment in trading standards. The profession has
invaluable skills and experience fighting scams in the non-virtual
world that will now be put to excellent use in the cyber teams.
We want to see shoppers to be able to be as confident online,
shopping cross border in the EU, as they are in bricks and mortar
shops – there is a real benefit for businesses and consumers alike
to be unlocked.
These specialist teams will help us be a modern regulatory service
that can handle the increasingly complex threats and demands of the
online market, which is fundamental to consumer and business
protection, and renewed prosperity.”
The OFT will co-ordinate which enforcer is best placed to take
action on a particular issue and will focus on the most serious
cyber scams. Cases will continue to be passed to the Police, Serious
and Organised Crime Agency and Companies Investigations Branch when
Consumers who suspect they are the victim of an online scam should
contact Consumer Direct on:- 08454 040506 or visit
Consumer Direct can
provide advice and pass on complaints and information to Trading
Standards and the OFT.
Computer says ‘yes’
skills can help you earn more money, keep an existing job or get a
new one according to new research among bosses and staff in the
North West. Yet many people still need to bring their computer
knowledge up to scratch.
In a learndirect survey, 68% of companies across the region say they
would consider increasing a salary offer to attract someone who has
the ability to use applications such as email, word processing,
spreadsheets, presentations and the internet. When recruiting,
91% of businesses in the North West ask about applicants’ ability to
use a computer, and 69% say these skills are a must for all
Staff in the region see computer literacy as vital to their job –
only a good grasp of English and communication skills are considered
more important. Despite this, 58% of workers aren’t fully confident
in their ability to use IT, with 27% admitting they’ve had to re-do
work, cover up mistakes or deal with an angry boss because they
lacked the right skills.
More widely in North West, people struggle with a number of common
► 53% don’t understand the meaning of the term ‘mail merge’
► 20% can’t explain what a ‘webpage’ is
► 15% don’t know what is meant by ‘inbox’
Commenting on the findings, Graham Whitehead, Regional Performance
Director for learndirect in North West said:- “The research
shows how important IT has become in workplaces across the region. A
large majority of jobs now need staff who know how to use computers,
so it’s crucial people aren’t left behind as IT becomes central to
learndirect offers flexible qualifications to help people improve
their everyday IT skills whether they’re looking for a new job, want
to get on in their current one or simply want to know how to do more
with a home computer. Our qualifications fit around learners’ lives,
and our friendly advisers are on hand to offer support.”
Outside the workplace, 36% of people in the North West say being
computer literate saves them money on bills and shopping and nearly
a third (31%) say it helps them assist children with homework.
To find out how learndirect’s IT qualifications could help you visit:-
learndirect.co.uk/it, call 0800 111 4213 or pop
in to your local learndirect centre.
Department of Health's 'Social Care Campaign' heading
THE Social Care Recruitment
Campaign will be coming to Liverpool next week, from Thursday, 25
February 2010, until Saturday, 27 February 2010. The campaign was
launched at the beginning of February and is running over the next
couple of months. It is aimed at raising awareness about the kind of
jobs on offer in the sector and providing more information about
where to start when looking for work in social care.
So far the campaign
has had some great case studies from the Liverpool and Chester area,
such as Gemma 27, a personal assistant and support worker who
previously worked as a hotel caterer. She loves working in care and
says:- "My job is so rewarding and I have the opportunity to
make a big difference in the lives of the people I work with. There
is lots of on the job training and opportunities to advance and
since I’ve started I’ve worked with some brilliant and inspiring
people. Once you start working in social care, you’ll never look
For more information go to:-