A national e-crime evidence centre hosted by North Yorkshire County Council, which has been set up and expanded to tackle the growing threat of internet scams, is to be formally opened next week by peer Lord Toby Harris.
The National Trading Standards E-crime Centre’s digital evidence unit (DEU) has recently doubled in size to increase consumer protection against internet scams and online fraud.
The lab has been extended to accommodate 4 more forensic analysts and a forensic technician, bringing the new e-crime unit’s strength up from 5 to 9 forensic staff.
Lord Toby Harris, chairman of the National Trading Standards Board, and member of both the House of Lords Select Committee on “Personal Internet Security”, and the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, will formerly open the unit on Monday 7th October 2013
The new staff based in the county council DEU will work closely with the e-crime enforcement officers in York, hosted by the City of York Council. Together they constitute the National Trading Standards eCrime Centre’s e-crime unit. The new staff will help reduce turnaround times and enhance the support given to local trading standards officers and regional scambuster teams.
The expansion of the DEU forms part of the National Trading Standard Board’s overall investment in consumer protection. It represents a longer term commitment to improve trading standards’ capacity nationally to tackle internet scams and rip-offs targeted at both consumers and businesses.
The National Trading Standards Board brings together trading standards experts from services across England and Wales to prioritise, fund and coordinate national and regional enforcement cases.
It is responsible for gathering intelligence from around the country to combat rogue traders and tackle priorities such as internet scams, illegal money lending and other issues that go beyond local authority boundaries.
Lord Toby Harris said:
The National Trading Standards Board is determined to crack down on scammers who take advantage of the internet, email and text messaging to rip-off UK consumers.
The investment in the National Trading Standards eCrime Centre will ensure the right resources are in place to tackle the growing threat of e-crime. These specialist teams, along with a training programme for local officers, will ensure trading standards remains at the forefront of protecting UK consumers as well as ensuring the internet remains fair for small and medium sized businesses, so vital to the UK economy.
County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Trading Standards said:
This is great news both for jobs in North Yorkshire and in the fight against e-crime. We are delighted that North Yorkshire plays such a vital role in helping trading standards services nationally to tackle online consumer and business fraud which costs UK consumers at least £3.5billion each year.
The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
Funded by the NTSB, the National Trading Standards e-Crime Centre (NTSeCC) recognises that a secure and safe online environment that protects consumers and allows businesses to flourish is vital to the long term success of the UK economy. The NTSeCC provides a national resource to support all local authority areas in England and Wales, tackling the increasing threat to businesses and consumers in relation to internet scams and rip-offs. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
What is the National Trading Standards eCrime Centre?
Despite the tough economic climate, consumer spending online is up year on year and
sales via tablets and smart phones are booming. But just as legitimate businesses have moved online to profit from increased consumer spending — criminals have also moved online to exploit them. More than ever rogue traders and Internet fraudsters are aggressively exploiting the convenience and deregulated nature of the internet. They are hiding behind its anonymity and taking advantage of its economies of scale to scam and rip-off consumers through fraud and misrepresentation; e-crimes of this kind have reached epidemic proportions.
So as part of a wider strategy to protect consumers and tackle rising e-crime, the Government has set up the National Trading Standards eCrime Centre (NTSeCC). The NTSeCC is funded by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB).