Three mock government websites slammed following ASA crackdown

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned three websites from advertising themsleves as goverment services following a promise to eradicate the practice earlier in the year.

Official Services, which offered a birth, death and marriage certificate service, UK Passport Offices and European Health Card have been told by the ASA not to present their service and the application process in a way which was likely to mislead consumers into thinking it was the official service.

Additionally they must not to use the term “official” to describe the services they offered or feature a crown emblem in a logo or elsewhere. On each page a prominent disclaimer alongside calls to action such as “Apply now” or similar should also appear.

Following the arrests of five people in July after they scammed consumers into paying fees for government documents, the ASA along with The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) said they would “clamp down” on those who operate the fraudulent sites.

Earlier this month ASA chief Guy Parker penned an article for The Drum to explain the watchdog’s five year strategy which will mark a step change in the way it governs ads.

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