The Daily Mail campaign to protect customers from online scams
The Daily Mail has launched a campaign to demand that tech giants take more responsibility for the online fraud that affects millions of people every year. The campaign, called Stop the Online Scams, calls for new laws and regulations to make online platforms accountable for the fraudsters who use their services to target innocent victims.
The campaign also urges the public to sign a petition to the government, asking for urgent action to tackle the growing problem of online fraud. The petition, which has already gathered more than 100,000 signatures, can be found here.
The Daily Mail has been highlighting the stories of people who have lost their life savings, pensions, or businesses to online scammers, who often impersonate legitimate organisations, such as banks, HMRC, or the police. Some of the victims have been driven to suicide, while others have been left in financial ruin and emotional distress.
The campaign has received widespread support from politicians, consumer groups, charities, and celebrities, who have praised the Daily Mail for raising awareness and demanding change.
Thirteen banks back the campaign and call for tech giants to crack down on fraud
One of the most significant endorsements for the campaign has come from the banking industry, which has been at the forefront of fighting online fraud and helping customers who have been affected by it. Thirteen banks, representing more than 90 per cent of the UK’s current account market, have backed the campaign and urged tech giants to do more to prevent fraudsters from using their platforms.
The banks are: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander, Nationwide, Metro Bank, Virgin Money, TSB, Starling Bank, Monzo, Co-operative Bank, and Tesco Bank.
In a joint statement, the banks said: “We are proud to support the Daily Mail’s campaign to stop the online scams that cause so much harm to our customers and society. We have invested heavily in security measures and education campaigns to protect our customers from fraud, but we cannot do this alone. We need the online platforms that fraudsters use to take more responsibility and work with us to stop these crimes. We urge the government to introduce new laws and regulations that will make online platforms accountable and ensure they take swift and effective action to remove fraudulent content and prevent its spread.”
The banks also highlighted some of the measures they have taken to combat online fraud, such as:
- Introducing the Confirmation of Payee system, which checks that the name of the person or business you are paying matches the name on the account you are sending money to.
- Participating in the Authorised Push Payment code, which sets out the standards for banks to follow when a customer reports a scam and provides a framework for reimbursing victims in certain circumstances.
- Launching the Take Five campaign, which advises customers to stop, challenge, and protect themselves from fraud by following five simple steps: never disclose security details, don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic, don’t be rushed or pressured, listen to your instincts, and stay in control.
- Supporting the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, which is a specialist police unit that investigates fraud and cybercrime involving payment cards, cheques, and online banking.
- Collaborating with other banks, law enforcement agencies, regulators, and industry bodies to share intelligence, best practices, and resources to tackle online fraud.
The scale and impact of online fraud in the UK
Online fraud is one of the most common and devastating types of crime in the UK, affecting millions of people and businesses every year. According to the latest figures from UK Finance, the trade body for the banking and finance industry, there were 3.6 million cases of fraud involving UK-issued cards, remote banking, and cheques in 2022, resulting in losses of £1.26 billion. This represents a 29 per cent increase in volume and a 34 per cent increase in value compared to 2021.
The most common type of online fraud is authorised push payment fraud, which occurs when a customer is tricked into sending money to a fraudster, who pretends to be someone they trust, such as a bank, a government agency, or a business. In 2022, there were 189,000 cases of authorised push payment fraud, resulting in losses of £479 million. This represents a 71 per cent increase in volume and a 64 per cent increase in value compared to 2021.
Another common type of online fraud is remote purchase fraud, which occurs when a fraudster uses stolen card details to buy goods or services online, over the phone, or by mail order. In 2022, there were 3.3 million cases of remote purchase fraud, resulting in losses of £726 million. This represents a 26 per cent increase in volume and a 28 per cent increase in value compared to 2021.
Online fraud has a huge impact on the victims, who often suffer financial losses, emotional distress, and damage to their reputation and credit rating. Some of the victims are vulnerable or elderly people, who may not have the means or the knowledge to protect themselves from online scams. Online fraud also harms the economy, as it reduces consumer confidence, undermines legitimate businesses, and diverts resources from productive activities.
The role and responsibility of tech giants in preventing online fraud
One of the main challenges in fighting online fraud is that fraudsters often use online platforms, such as social media, search engines, email providers, and messaging apps, to carry out their scams. These platforms enable fraudsters to reach a large number of potential victims, create fake profiles and websites, impersonate legitimate organisations, and spread fraudulent content and links.
However, many of these platforms have been accused of not doing enough to prevent online fraud and protect their users from harm. Some of the criticisms include:
- Failing to verify the identity and legitimacy of the users and content on their platforms, allowing fraudsters to operate with impunity and anonymity.
- Failing to monitor and remove fraudulent content and links from their platforms, allowing fraudsters to target and deceive unsuspecting victims.
- Failing to cooperate and share information with banks, law enforcement agencies, and regulators, making it difficult to trace and stop fraudsters and recover stolen funds.
- Failing to educate and warn their users about the risks and signs of online fraud, leaving them vulnerable and unaware of how to protect themselves.
The Daily Mail campaign argues that tech giants have a moral and social responsibility to prevent online fraud and protect their users from harm, as they benefit from the trust and data of their users and make huge profits from their platforms. The campaign also argues that tech giants have a legal and regulatory responsibility to prevent online fraud and protect their users from harm, as they are subject to the same laws and rules as other businesses and organisations that provide services to the public.
The campaign calls for the government to introduce new laws and regulations that will make tech giants accountable for the online fraud that occurs on their platforms and ensure they take swift and effective action to remove fraudulent content and prevent its spread. The campaign also calls for the government to create a new regulator that will oversee and enforce the online safety and security of tech platforms and their users.
The campaign hopes that by putting pressure on tech giants and the government, it will help to reduce the scale and impact of online fraud and make the online world a safer and fairer place for everyone.