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Consumer champions and finance bodies press for motion on online fraud

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Consumers cannot afford to attend for vital protections against online fraud, campaigners and financial services industry bodies are warning.

Ten organisations, including Which?, MoneySavingExpert, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and UK Finance have joined forces to jot down a letter to Prime Minister Liz Truss, pressing for quick and effective motion.

They’re urging the Government to be certain that fraud is tackled through the Online Safety Bill so that folks are higher protected against devastating financial and emotional harm.

Evaluation of Motion Fraud figures indicates that approaching £5 million is usually being reported lost to scams each day.

And, as many scams go unreported, the true amount lost by victims is prone to be much higher, those behind the letter said.

Further delays to the Bill will lead to the continued perpetuation of online fraud, costing people – lots of who’re already scuffling with the associated fee of living crisis – dearly, devastating their lives and funds beyond repair

Letter to Prime Minister Liz Truss

They added that there may be the potential to stop tens of millions of pounds-worth of scams every yr, by tackling the flood of online adverts that are paid for by fraudsters to scam people.

The letter says: “As a coalition of consumer groups, charities and financial services industry bodies, now we have been delighted to see scam advert protections inside the Online Safety Bill progress through Parliament over recent months and strengthened at each stage of the legislative process to make sure they’ll best address essentially the most widespread type of online harm: fraud.

“We were pleased to listen to your recent comments indicating that the Online Safety Bill will return to Parliament this session.

“The unrelenting scale of harm attributable to online fraud – through each user generated content and scam promoting – and the speed at which the issue is increasing, means that customers cannot afford to attend for these vital protections.

“Further delays to the Bill will lead to the continued perpetuation of online fraud, costing people – lots of who’re already scuffling with the associated fee of living crisis – dearly, devastating their lives and funds beyond repair.

“The Government, under your leadership, must commit to finding the quickest and best solution to shield UK residents from becoming victims of fraud – ideally by championing this element within the Online Safety Bill through Parliament as soon as possible.

“This Government has a novel opportunity to make the web a safer place for British consumers and to not simply kick this problem down the road.”

The letter can also be supported by Carnegie UK, the City of London Corporation, the City of London Police Authority, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI), the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) and TheCityUK.

The letter also highlights the associated fee of scams to people’s wellbeing, saying that in some cases people have shown signs of severe emotional distress.

It says: “Which? estimates the associated fee to wellbeing at £7.2 billion per yr, while in 2021 Motion Fraud received between 300 to 350 reports per week where victims showed signs of severe emotional distress resulting from being scammed, with some needing emergency services dispatched to their homes.”

The letter adds: “The pandemic only increased the necessity for urgent motion, resulting in an enormous rise in reported instances of fraud as scammers took advantage of emerging consumer vulnerabilities. The intensifying cost of living crisis now presents fresh opportunities for fraudsters to focus on struggling consumers.”

A Government spokesperson said: “The Government stays absolutely committed to cracking down on the shameless scammers who’re targeting the hard-working British public.

“Our Online Safety Bill will ensure tech giants take tough motion to forestall scams on their sites, with huge fines for many who fail to guard their users.

“Industry is working closely with law enforcement within the Online Fraud Steering Group to stamp out this terrible crime, and later this yr we are going to publish a latest strategy to handle the threat from fraud.”

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