Mass-marketing scams are to be targeted by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in a new high-profile campaign.

The consumer watchdog said that they had become a significant problem partly due to the UK’s widespread use of the internet.

Mass-marketing scams for areas such as bogus competitions, clairvoyants, lotteries and pyramid schemes are believed to cost the UK consumer in the region of £1 billion per year.

The OFT campaign will last for one-month and will specifically focus on these mass-marketing schemes with the government giving an extra £3 million to trading standards offices to set up scam busting teams.

John Fingleton, OFT chief executive, said: “Scams steal money from the legitimate economy. They are scheming, crafty aggressive and malicious.”

By sweeping the internet with the collaboration of internet service providers, the OFT plans to take scams offline as well as locate and identify any foreign spam gangs.

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