UK Finance, Which?, City of London Police Sign Letter Asking Government to Add Online Scams to “Online Safety” Bill

UK Finance (a trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector that represents around 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services), Which? (an organization that reviews products and services, so that you “make the best purchase decisions” for your requirements) and City of London Police are among several other organizations that have signed a letter asking the UK government to add online or Internet scams to its latest “Online Safety” bill.

The new “Online Safety” bill will require companies  – through the threat of huge fines – to enhance Internet safety in key areas like terrorist content, child sex abuse, hate crimes, cyber-bullying and the circulation of fake or misleading news updates.

But financial fraud has not been added to the bill – which may be announced in the upcoming Queen’s Speech – leading 17 organizations (representing civil society and business) to ask the Home Secretary Priti Patel and Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden to include online scams on the list.

As stated in the letter:

“Online platforms play a pivotal role in enabling criminals to reach and defraud internet users through the hosting, promotion and targeting of fake and fraudulent content on their sites, including adverts that they make significant profits from. Yet platforms have very little legal responsibility for protecting their users, despite often being the best placed to tackle harmful content.”

The letter has now been signed by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Carnegie UK Trust, PIMFA, MoneySavingExpert and Age UK, among several other organizations.

The letter also states:

“We believe that fake and fraudulent content that leads to scams must be included in scope of the proposed Online Safety Bill. This would require online platforms to identify, remove and prevent fake and fraudulent content from being hosted on their sites, putting in place incentives for platforms to work together with the telecoms, banking and finance sectors to tackle economic crime.”

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