Who are the National Trading Standards eCrime Team?
Despite the 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 — crooks have 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’re hiding behind its anonymity and taking advantage of its economies of scale to scam and rip-off consumers through fraud and misrepresentation and e-crimes of these kinds increasing day-by-day.
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 Team (NTSeCT). NTSeCT is funded by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB).
What is e-crime?
E-crime is crime committed using the internet, email or mobile phone technology. It’s a new and challenging area for Trading Standards because rogue traders and fraudsters constantly use new techniques and a bewildering array of internet-connected devices to scam and rip-off consumers on a national scale.
In the wider context these are crimes such as online consumer scams and frauds, text messaging scams and mass-market email-scams. More specifically they include among others:
- Mass market scams
- Vehicle matching scams
- Fake anti-virus software scams
- Dating/job agency scams
- Mobile phone text scams
- Land banking and investment scams
- On-line miracle cures
- Counterfeit goods and intellectual property theft
What do we do?
The National Trading Standard e-Crime Team (NTSeCT) is a new national team aimed at protecting consumers and businesses in England and Wales from internet crime and online fraud. We not only protect consumers and businesses but we also help local and regional trading standards officers stay ahead of the geographical and technological demands, and help them deal more efficiently with rising levels of online scams and rip-offs.
For the first time teams of expert forensic analysts, and internet investigators, have come together to enforce e-crime on a national level. They can also provide local authority trading standard officers with operational and technological support to meet the demands of a constantly shifting online environment, or can independently investigate scams and rip-offs of national significance.
The eCrime Team is hosted by the Yorkshire & Humberside Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and is split between a state-of-the-art digital evidence unit in Northallerton and a team of investigators in York.
How do we do it?
The National Trading Standards eCrime Team uses an intelligence led focus to trading standards investigations. We work closely with a team of intelligence officers, analysts and researchers who collect and evaluate a wide range of internal and external e-crime intelligence sources.
We examine and gather evidence from a wide array of internet connected electronic devices and storage media seized during investigations. Our state-of-the-art digital evidence unit has experience of extracting and analysing data from just about any type of desktop or laptop computer, tablet, mobile phone or storage medium. They’ve even taken evidence from an industrial embroidery machine!
NTSeCT is helping to build national capacity to tackle e-crime. We provide specialist open-source intelligence and internet forensics training that meets the needs of local authority enforcement agencies and keeps them up-to-date with the latest online intelligence techniques.
This training is available online on request.
We can investigate a wide range of e-crimes, online scams and rip-offs using the combined expertise of specialist police and trading standards officers. These officers can also provide, in many cases, cost-free operational support when executing warrants.
If you have any questions about the NTSeCT or other enquiries about the service, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note this email address is not for the reporting of online crime, if you believe you have been the victim of an online scam you can report it here. We aim to respond to enquiries well within 24 hours.