Nominet expands law enforcement landing pages to include counterfeited medicines, financial scams and serious online crime

25th February 2021


  • Web users are being redirected to a secure site with educational information following domain names being used for criminal activity.
  • The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) latest to join the pilot.

Nominet, the profit with purpose company, has today added three new agencies to its world leading initiative to provide law enforcement landing pages for domains suspended due to criminal activity.

The pilot aims to improve transparency, prevent harm, and educate the general public to interact safely online. Under the current system web users would usually see an error message when a domain is suspended for criminal activity.

This initiative allows the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) to redirect web users to a secure site with consumer advice.

In collaboration with the MHRA, web users will be signposted to information on how to safely buy medicines online. This advice aims to protect patient health by preventing the purchasing of fake medicines and signposting safe online purchasing options.

The FCA collaboration will see web users redirected to information on how to protect themselves from financial scams. This is particularly important in the financial sector as victims are often targeted repeatedly by criminals. The FCA estimate this could save the UK public millions of pounds.

While suspensions for the most serious organised crime are rare in .UK – only three suspensions between 1 November 2019 and 31 October 2020 – the consequences can be particularly harmful. The NCA will also have the functionality to redirect web users to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime.

On conclusion of the pilot Nominet will assess the impact and report publicly on the next steps.

Eleanor Bradley, MD of Registry & Public Benefit at Nominet says:

“Our landing page initiative is just one example of how we go above and beyond to make .UK the safest place in the world to be online.

“In addition to clarifying why the domain has been suspended, these bespoke pages will direct the public to official government resources designed to help them buy medicines safely, avoid financial scams, and report fraud.

“These pages are designed to give vital information and support to the UK public at a time when they need it most while still disrupting criminal activity.”

Lynda Scammell, Senior Enforcement Advisor at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said:

“Your health is important. Medicines from unregulated websites are unlikely to be genuine licensed medicines – don’t be fooled by online offers from unknown sources. If it seems too good to be true – it most likely is.

“We’re directing the public to our #fakemeds website which provides tools to spot fake medical products and avoid purchasing something which may cause harm. Don’t put your health at risk.”

Mark Steward, FCA Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight commented:

“We are pleased to join Nominet’s landing page pilot which will provide education and resources to the most impacted consumers when a .UK domain is being used criminally. Redirecting domains to our ScamSmart landing page will be a key tool used by the FCA to disrupt scammers and protect consumers.

“ScamSmart provides advice and guidance on how to spot a scam and clones of FCA regulated firms. Joining this pilot builds upon our strong collaborative relationship with Nominet tackling online harms which last year led to 232 .uk domains being suspended.”

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Editor’s notes:

Media Contacts

Nominet – Lizzy Batchelor, Seven Hills +44 7818509655  E: [email protected]

MHRA

News centre, MHRA, 10 South Colonnade, London, E14 4PU

Email: [email protected]
During office hours:020 3080 7651 (08:30 – 17:00)
Out of office hours:07770 446 189 (17:00 – 08:30)

Office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm. For real-time updates including the latest press releases and news statements, see our Twitter channel at https://www.twitter.com/mhragovuk

About Nominet

Nominet is driven by a commitment to use technology to improve connectivity, security and inclusivity online. For over 20 years, Nominet has run the UK internet infrastructure, developing an expertise in the Domain Name System (DNS) that now underpins sophisticated threat monitoring, detection, prevention, and analytics that is used by governments and enterprises to mitigate cyber threats.  Our public benefit programme aims to improve the lives of one million people, providing support and opportunities to tackle some of the most important digital issues facing young people in the UK today. www.nominet.uk

About the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

About The Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority is the conduct regulator for nearly 60,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK. It aims to make financial markets work well so that consumers get a fair deal. It does this by protecting consumers, enhancing the integrity of the UK financial system and promoting effective competition in the interests of consumers.

History

As an industry first for a national registry, Nominet introduced law enforcement landing pages in November 2020 for domains suspended due to criminal activity to provide information for those who may have been affected by activity related to the domain name. In collaboration with the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), Nominet began redirecting web users to a secure site providing consumer advice and education for potential victims of sales of counterfeit branded goods.  https://www.nominet.uk/nominet-and-pipcu-tackle-cyber-crime-with-launch-of-new-landing-pages-for-suspended-criminal-domains/

The new pages will redirect to a landing page – hosted by Nominet, which will sign post the following resources for consumers: