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MHRA and other agencies to offer new resources for scam victims

New landing page resources will replace .uk domains suspended for criminal activity to help members of the public access appropriate guidance

Nominet, the UK’s domain registrar, is launching law enforcement landing pages for suspended domains related to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the National Crime Agency (NCA), extending an existing pilot programme.

In future, when such domains are suspended because of criminal activity, the new landing pages will redirect web users who access them to secure, Nominet-hosted sites containing further advice and guidance. Until now, users would just have seen an error message in their browser.

For suspended domains linked to the MHRA, the redirects will flag information on how to buy medicines online safely, helping to protect patient health by preventing the purchase of fake medicines. For those linked to the FCA, the redirects will provide information on financial scams and how to protect yourself. The NCA’s page will assist in redirecting users to the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime.

Lynda Scammell, MHRA senior enforcement adviser, said: “Your health is important. Medicines from unregulated websites are unlikely to be genuine licensed medicines – don’t be fooled by online offers from unknown sources. If it seems too good to be true – it most likely is.

“We are directing the public to our #fakemeds website, which provides tools to spot fake medical products and avoid purchasing something which may cause harm. Don’t put your health at risk.”

Mark Steward, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, added: “We are pleased to join Nominet’s landing page pilot, which will provide education and resources to the most impacted consumers when a .uk domain is being used criminally. Redirecting domains to our ScamSmart landing page will be a key tool used by the FCA to disrupt scammers and protect consumers. 

“ScamSmart provides advice and guidance on how to spot a scam and clones of FCA regulated firms. Joining this pilot builds upon our strong collaborative relationship with Nominet tackling online harms, which last year led to 232 .uk domains being suspended.”

The pilot programme initially began in November 2020 as a collaboration with the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu), and related to domains suspended for selling counterfeit brands.

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Eleanor Bradley, Nominet’s managing director of registry and public benefit, said the pilot aimed to improve transparency, prevent harm and educate the general public to interact more safely online.

“Our landing page initiative is just one example of how we go above and beyond to make .uk the safest place in the world to be online,” said Bradley.

“In addition to clarifying why the domain has been suspended, these bespoke pages will direct the public to official government resources designed to help them buy medicines safely, avoid financial scams and report fraud. 

“These pages are designed to give vital information and support to the UK public at a time when they need it most, while still disrupting criminal activity.”

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