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silicon.com uncovers rampant web fraud

A month-long investigation by silicon.com into criminal internet sites has uncovered widespread evidence of systematic investment frauds that are unlikely to be hit by Jack Straw's newly-trained cybercops.
Written by Peter Warren, Contributor

A month-long investigation by silicon.com into criminal internet sites has uncovered widespread evidence of systematic investment frauds that are unlikely to be hit by Jack Straw's newly-trained cybercops.

During the course of our investigation, silicon.com researchers found near-perfect replicas of corporate websites for companies ranging from telecoms giants to investment banks. One site provided an exact copy of one of the world's largest telecommunications company's websites, which even allows users to enter phone account details and credit card numbers. The credibility a professional-looking website lends to its owners has led to several questionable offshore banking sites appearing online. The development has prompted the UK's Financial Services Authority to take a keen interest, and the body is now understood to be investigating the activities of many financial organisations which claim to have links with the UK. silicon.com's research has indicated that large financial institutions are unlikely to report cases of fraud like these because of the negative publicity and subsequent loss of confidence ensuing from high-profile court cases. Similarly, individuals who have lost funds to fake investment sites may feel stupid and embarrassed by their loss, and decide not to report fraud in an attempt to save face. A spokeswoman for the Home Office conceded the point. She said: "Victims of crime should report that to the police. We recognise the potential value of a mechanism for reporting internet-based crime, which is often unrelated to where the victim lives and the ability of the local police to investigate what might be an international scam." She added: "Together with the new national Hi-Tech Crime Unit we are studying the IFCC [US-based internet crime authority] model." silicon.com has launched a campaign - Fighting Fraud - to argue the case for a central reporting organisation. Our investigation into online fraud is ongoing and we will be naming and shaming those responsible for some of the very worst web frauds.
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