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MPs launch attack on Google and Facebook for failing to tackle online fraud – Channel 4 News


MPs have launched a blistering attack on the social media giant Google for failing to tackle online fraud.

A member of the Treasury Select Committee accused Google of making the most of promoting fraud.

Google says it’s doing every thing it might probably to stem the issues, however the banking industry has warned that online fraud has turn into a threat to national security.

In the ultimate months of Indu Patel’s life, he was gripped with anxiety and guilt. He experienced feelings of shame that left him not wanting to go on after losing his life savings through a scam advertised on Google.

His daughter Poorvi Smith told Channel 4 News: “I believe it destroyed him. He’s such a proud man.

“He was lively, stuffed with vitality, and just about from that day (he) just didn’t want to socialize anymore, just withdrew from every thing, didn’t eat, lost his appetite, just sat in his room all day, didn’t even wish to see us. He didn’t even wish to see his family, which is heartbreaking.”

Mr Patel lost £130,000 after clicking on a Google ad that led him to what looked like a famous American bank. He carried out checks on the bank, however the criminal gang behind the fraud had created an elaborate facade. And the actual fact it was advertised on Google reassured him it was legitimate.

Many individuals trust Google to “give them the appropriate messages and to offer them the appropriate content” and “surely that trust needs to be reciprocated,” Ms Smith added.

It’s stories like Mr Patel’s which have angered MPs who called in Google and other tech giants for an uncomfortable dressing down on the Treasury Select Committee.

On the meeting this week, Conservative MP Anthony Browne asked Amanda Storey, Google’s Director of Trust and Safety, whether the corporate would compensate their customers which can be victims of fraud.

She responded saying they’re working to be certain that they’re never ready where a user needs compensation.

Asked in the event that they have ever compensated anyone who has lost money from fraud through Google, she said “now we have not”.

Mr Browne said in his inquiries to the platforms: “You make the most of fraud, you make the most of promoting fraud, and also you don’t suffer any of the losses.”

And it’s the dimensions of fraud that’s so terrifying, up 30% this yr alone with £754 million stolen in only the primary six months. It’s been described by UK Finance, the banking industry’s trade association, as a national security threat.

Neena Bhati, head of campaigns at Which?, said: “Platforms are unfortunately not doing enough.

“They’ve a number of the most sophisticated technology on this planet, and yet they aren’t putting enough of an effort into stopping those scam adverts from making it onto their sites in the primary place.

“And now we have evidence that means that this is going on on an industrial scale.”

For Mr Patel’s family, the pain remains to be acute.

Ms Smith said: “On the hospital, the doctors did say to us, has he had an enormous trauma? Has he had a shock because he’s acting like an individual in shock?

“He just said, ‘I don’t wish to live anymore. I’ve tousled. I’ve allow you to all down. I don’t wish to live’.”

She added: “I felt like I lost my dad six months before he actually died because his personality and his soul just completely modified. And that, to me was just devastating because he shouldn’t have been the one which was feeling guilty.”

Google told Channel 4 News the changes they brought on this month should prevent cases like Mr Patel’s happening again. They promised to vigorously implement the brand new policy, but they’ve resisted MP’s calls for more regulation, which campaigners say is the one real tool for tackling online fraud.

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