Yesterday, the UK government announced a “world’s first” agreement with big tech to help battle online fraud, the most common type of crime in the country.
The UK government is partnering with the likes of Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Match Group, Microsoft, Snapchat, TikTok, X (Twitter) and YouTube – to commit to the Online Fraud Charter. Each entity has signed the document committing to its goals.
The tech firms have also committed to direct routes for law enforcement to report suspicious activity taking place on the services, making it easier to quickly identify and remove fraudulent content.
UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said that scammers are targeting the most vulnerable in society and thus they have launched a new Fraud Strategy joined by a National Fraud Squad. This new Squad is expected to include 400 officers, funded by a government commitment of £400 million.
“For the first time, we are beginning to see a drop in fraud cases, but we must do more. By joining forces with these tech giants we will continue to crack down on fraudsters, making sure they have nowhere to hide online,” said Sunak.
As outlined by the UK Government, these are the following measures being pursued by the partnership:
Blocking – Deploy measures to detect and block fraudulent material
Reporting – Have a simple and quick route to report fraudulent material
Takedowns – Take action against fraudulent content and users straight away
Advertising – Deploy measures to protect people from fraudulent adverts
Law enforcement – Have dedicated liaisons who will respond to law enforcement requests
Intelligence sharing – Engage with initiatives to quickly share information about frauds
Transparency – Provide information about fraud risks and what is being done to address them
Comms – Deliver simple messaging to support the public to recognise and avoid online fraud
Horizon scanning – Contribute to horizon scanning exercises to stay ahead of the threat
The entire Online Fraud Charter is viewable here.
The CEO of Tide, Oliver Prill, shared a comment with CI, approving of the initiative:
“We have consistently encouraged the Government and regulators to enact tougher rules for social media companies in a bid to tackle online fraud because online platforms are being increasingly exploited by criminals to initiate fraud and money laundering. We have urged the Government to mandate social media and telecoms companies to share and maintain adequate records of all their advertisers and users, and contribute to Confirmation of Payee data by linking in their records (for e.g. via the payment details they hold on advertisers).
“We are pleased to see the Online Fraud Charter will bring in measures that will cover detection and blocking of fraudulent material, quick routes to reporting fraud, taking immediate action against fraudulent content and users, dedicated liaisons who will respond to law enforcement requests and action that engages in quickly sharing information about fraud. We very much welcome the announcement of an Online Advertising Taskforce and the move to verify new advertisers.”
Prill called the initiative a huge step in the right direction, voicing his support to prevent fraud and bring better outcomes for consumers.
Fraud reportedly accounts for 40% of all crime in England and Wales. Last year, one in 17 reported being a victim of fraud, with over 3 million fraud incidents recorded. The latest Crime Survey in England and Wales shows incidents of fraud fell by 13% in a year and the government wants to build upon this progress.