Islwyn MP urges UK Government to act on copycat websites
Islwyn MP Chris Evans has urged the UK Government to tackle copycat websites that charge victims up to £1,000 over the odds for services such as registering the deaths of their loved ones.
Mr Evans used a parliamentary debate to slam the websites that often appear above similar official websites on search engines but have no link to the Government, whose services they offer.
They charge significantly more for driving licences, taxes, name changes, passports, birth certificates and registering bereavements.
During the debate he called, Mr Evans said: “Copycat websites are part of a growing industry which exists purely to trick the public out of their hard earned money.
“It thrives by using underhanded methods to fool people into paying way over the odds for Government services.
“I have to say the action on this to date has been painfully slow.
“They are taking money, through unfair means, from basically every MPs’ constituents and yet in most cases the companies who trick people are doing so legally.
“Perhaps most worrying of all, is the potential for identity theft. These sites collect all sorts of personal data.”
Mr Evans was made aware of the issue when Caerphilly Councillor Tom Williams was charged more than £40 extra for renewing his tax disc.
Cllr Williams said: “I renewed my tax disc online in march and when I checked my account it wasn’t just £175 gone, it was £215 – £40 more than it should have been.
“Then I realised there was this company offering these services, but they are more or less identical to the DVLA services.
“When I realised what had happened I cancelled my card as I though they could probably get into my account.
“I’m surprised by the number of people who have been conned, but I’ve stood up to it. I’ve fought back.
“I represent a lot of people and I want them to be looked after. The Government should close them all down and take them to task.”
Mr Evans added: “With reports of these websites operating in increasing numbers and in an increasing number of areas Ministers must now look again at their strategy to stamp them out. The current situation is simply not one we can allow to continue.”
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