Gov takes fight to Internet scammers

Gordon Brown's Government has announced the formation of of a new 'cyber enforcement team' aimed at bringing down on-line scammers and Internet fraudsters.

Consumer Minister Kevin Brennan said Trading Standards officials would receive £4.3 million in funding over the next three years to help fight £3.5 billion worth of fraud per year.

"The Internet is rapidly transforming the way we shop," said Brennan. "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 Office of Fair Trading has already set up a fully equipped digital forensics lab and is currently training staff to use sophisticated internet snooping equipment which can track down the scammers.

The team will focus on crooks selling fake goods online as well as dodgy ticket touts and bargain shopping scammers.

The funding came about as a result of the recent Digital Britain Report.