UK Financial Conduct Authority Says it Is Dealing with Scams Faster

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says it is dealing with scams faster by scanning thousands of websites daily and shutting them down when a nefarious actor appears.

The FCA reports that between May 2021 and April 2022, it added 1,966 possible scams or frauds to its consumer warning list more than a third more than during the same period the previous year.

The FCA has migrated its services from a physical data center to a cloud-based operation that is more scalable. The FCA states that it is “building new tools, and improving our data strategy across the entire data and technology pyramid.”

The FCA operates a “ScamSmart Tool” to help consumers check if an investment opportunity may be bogus.

A list of fraudulent websites, updated regularly, is available here.

Jessica Rusu, Chief Data, Information, and Intelligence Officer, at the FCA, stated:

“Better use of data means we can be more proactive and find and stop harm faster. We are continuing to improve our data, technology and capabilities to act decisively in consumers interests, while making it easier for firms to report to us.”

The FCA provided the following outline of its new strategy:

  • The FCA plans to invest heavily in its use of data in 2022/23, recruiting a significant number of skilled roles, across Artificial Intelligence, analytics and data science as well as cloud engineering and digital technology, adding to the 100 it has recruited since 2020. The additional recruits will be responsible for a range of data and digital initiatives, including improving the quality of the data the FCA collects.
  • The FCA is using advanced analytics and new sources of data to identify inappropriate financial adverts. Last year 564 adverts were withdrawn or amended, double the number compared to previous years.
  • Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the FCA has developed and implemented a sanctions screening tool to support the monitoring of the effectiveness of a firm’s controls in identifying organisations or individuals that have been sanctioned. This has been vital in supporting the FCA’s ongoing work with domestic and international partners in response to the war in Ukraine.
  • The FCA will provide its staff with a dashboard for all the financial companies it regulates and sectors it oversees. This will make it easier to identify and focus on the highest risk cases.
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