The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has been implementing the final stages of its Scams Awareness Month.

Over the last three days, thousands of websites have been under scrutiny by 53 consumer protection agencies from 21 countries and also 20 UK Trading Standards Departments in a global crackdown on online scammers.

Running through February, the scheme aimed to equip consumers with the necessary skills and knowledge to protect themselves and their finances from mass-marketed email scams.

The issue of internet scammers has gained increased importance of late, with the OFT estimating that around five million people in the UK fall victim to this type of crime every year.

The three-day crackdown focussed on the three main home working scams, which include directory, kit and recruitment schemes, that people are bombarded by on a day-to-day basis.

Mike Haley, head of the Scambusters’ team, said: “Bogus schemes are an increasing problem for those looking for genuine work to do at home.

“Like all scams the tell-tale sign to beware of is the fact that the company will ask for money up-front. You should never have to pay a fee to get paid work.”

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