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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Warning over internet scam sites
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UK consumers have been warned to steer clear of internet sites offering 'too good to be true' prize draws and get-rich-quick schemes.

Following a sweep of the internet the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) identified 176 sites worldwide in breach of UK consumer protection laws.

The OFT said distant-selling rules, e-commerce regulations and advertising laws were being breached by the sites.

UK based websites in breach are being pursued by trading standards offices.

Steer clear

The OFT and local trading standards departments were among 24 enforcement agencies in 31 countries surfing the internet for websites that make misleading claims.

How to avoid internet scams
Ignore promises of instant wealth and 'free' gifts
Be wary of personal accounts claiming astounding results
Research the business and verify any contact details
Read all the terms and conditions thoroughly
Source: OFT

UK websites found to be making offers that were 'too good to be true' included 90 working-from-home schemes, 52 get-rich-quick schemes and 20 lottery scams.

These schemes offer riches or high earning potential but in return ask consumers to pay high fees and administration charges.

The OFT has warned consumers to steer clear of such schemes and only to respond to emails once they have checked out the business thoroughly.

Have you fallen for a scam email in the past or has a friend paid money to a internet get rich quick scheme? Tell us your experience.

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SEE ALSO:
Spanish lottery scam discovered
24 Feb 04  |  Staffordshire
Suicide of internet scam victim
30 Jan 04  |  Cambridgeshire


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