Ever had to pay a fee higher than usual to get your passport renewed? Were you led to believe you were dealing with a government agent? Chances are you came across a copycat website.
We’ve had more than 500 comments to our previous convo on copycat websites, with many of you angry at being saddled with unnecessary charges. Among the sites complained about was British Passport Services.
National Trading Standards has confirmed that five individuals who are alleged to be behind the British Passport Services site were arrested last week.
One of the five was Richard Howard, director of UK Services & Support Limited, the company through which the site is run.
No formal charges have yet been brought against Mr Howard or any of the other four detained, and the website is still available online and handling passport applications.
More than 500 people complained to Citizens Advice about the site – believing they were using the government site before realising they had in fact paid more than £100 to a private company.
In comparison, a standard adult first passport or renewal costs £72.50, or £82.25 if you use the Post Office’s Passport Check and Send service. Child passports cost £46, or £55.75 using Check and Send.
Can you spot a copycat website?
Working out which document-processing sites are official can be more difficult than you think. They often look official, sound official and, to be fair, tend to do the job – but at a completely unnecessary cost.
Do you think that more should be done to stop copycat websites from misleading people? Have you been tricked by a copycat website?