A US website offering people fake NUJ membership so they can apply for press cards is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
Ptclub.com charges $500 (£275) for lifelong membership, which it claims will allow applicants “a UK national press card with 24-hour telephone verification service run by London police and an international press card following the world-standard format”.
The website says: “The cards are the type used by journalists at the BBC and other professional bodies around the world.”
NUJ representative to the press card scheme, Tim Gopsill, has referred the site to the Metropolitan Police, which holds the copyright in the card, and the NUJ’s lawyers.
It is not clear if buyers are sent fake versions of the card or whether they receive anything at all. Ptclub.com is registered at a non-existent London address, with fax numbers in the US and technical support in Singapore.
Gopsill e-mailed and faxed the website and its internet provider Verio, saying: “You are perpetrating a fraud and we require you to remove this material at once. Membership of the NUJ cannot be secured by third parties and is only open to bona fide journalists who demonstrate their standing through examples of their work and/or proof of earnings.”
The website also offers travel agent IDs for VIP treatment in hotels and on airlines and UK residency and international student cards.
By Sarah Lagan