Read the homepage of the website. It may even state that it’s not affiliated with the official body
Don’t be fooled by a .org web address, as this doesn’t guarantee that it’s the official site
Check to see if the web address in your browser bar begins with ‘https’, as this acts as an encryption to protect personal details
There are a number of ways that can help you spot a copycat website. Follow our top tips to avoid falling victim:
Copycat tax return sites
Remember, with HMRC self-assessment tax returns, you need to register either on or offline at a tax office before you can pay.
Be careful of using alternative websites that are not officially affiliated.
The Government Digital Service has been working with Google, the largest search engine in the UK, to identify advertisements that mislead consumers and therefore breach Google’s policies.
As a result, Google took down a series of sponsored adverts from companies running copycat websites.
Google will continue to remove misleading adverts and close the accounts of repeat offenders.
The National Trading Standards eCrime Team is investigating these so-called copycat websites.
The team has devised a questionnaire to gather information about websites that are duping people into spending money on services that are either free or much cheaper if people arrange them themselves.
If you’ve been caught out by one of these websites, you can complete the trading standards questionnaire to share your experience:
There is a file available for download. ( — 103 KB). This file is available for download at .
Sharing details of the scam helps us to protect others as well as inform our scams content, research & policy work.Share scam details