How to use the internet to get rich – fool taxpayers into going to your copycat websites for government services. Google will help you to do this, because they make money from it too.
Internet services like search engines and social media are free to use because they "monetise" their wares by selling advertising space, mining users' personal data to make this process more profitable. But increasing pressure for online service applications, such as tax returns, passport and driving licence renewals, and European health insurance cards (Ehics), has led to copycat websites fooling applicants into paying far more than they need to, and even paying fees that they believe to be payments of tax, incurring further costs and penalties.
Websites like taxreturngateway.com appear on Google searches above the legitimate government "gateway" portals because, unlike other search engines, Google doesn't differentiate its search results between unofficial sites it is promoting and the official ones, which are frequently free to use, although Google says this is within its rules. Using DuckDuckGo and other alternative search engines will display official sites first, and downloading Web of Trust software from mywot.com alerts users to dodgy sites. You can complain about Google ads on its feedback page at support.google.com/adwords/answer/176378?hl=en-GB.
Many of these sting operations are run by Who4Ltd, a company registered at a postal address in London along with 30,000 other companies. Hard to contact businessmen in the North East of England are "Who" these misleading services are "4", it has been revealed in The Guardian's Money pages. A campaign to recover money paid by unfortunate users and to complain about these practices advises writing to Sunderland Trading Standards, or to Stephen Oliver, Director, Who4? Unit 3 North Hylton House, North Hylton Road, Sunderland, SR5 3AD, links below.