The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has taken action against 11 finance websites that it said were “posing” as charity or official debt advice portals.
It revealed that the sites have been using names that imply they are connected to bodies such as Citizens Advice or the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.
The portals have been ordered to cease using such trade names and warned that they will face prosecution if they continue the activities without obtaining a licence.
And the OFT urged consumers to take care when they are searching for debt help over the web and check that they are in fact viewing an official site.
Commenting on the move, ClearDebt chief executive and chair of the Debt Resolution Forum David Mond said: “We applaud this development … people with debt problems should also be aware of firms that actually do nothing but pass on their details elsewhere but request an upfront fee.”
By Jamie Price