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UK security minister announces fraud crackdown

Representatives from across the private sector have gathered at 10 Downing Street to update the government on progress made to tackle fraud and protect the public from scams.

Representatives from across the private sector have gathered at 10 Downing Street to update the government on progress made to tackle fraud and protect the public from scams.

The Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, convened a meeting of the Joint Fraud Taskforce (JFT) to drive forward delivery of the commitments made in the Fraud Strategy, published earlier this year. With several actions already implemented, members of the group agreed to use the forum to continue to monitor progress.

New policies announced include launching an independent review of the challenges in investigating and prosecuting fraud to speed up the justice process, reviewing the use of mass texting services and working with Ofcom to use new technology to further clamp down on number ‘spoofing’, so fraudsters cannot impersonate legitimate UK phone numbers.

Responding to the policies Chris Downie, CEO of fraud detection platform Pasabi said: “The tsunami of online scams and fake reviews is costing the economy billions and it’s time for tech platforms, social media sites and review aggregators to tackle this challenge head on. The government is right to call on tech companies to take forcible action to address this menace head on, and that means a lot more than tinkering with verification setting and issuing a few warning notices to customers.

“By harnessing the power of AI and the latest fraud detection technology, businesses should be able to swiftly identify and erase the threat posed by fake reviews, protecting customers from harmful scams and restoring confidence in the industry,” he added.

Security specialist Suid Adeyanju, CEO, RiverSafe said, “Tackling the surge in online fraud and taking the fight to cyber criminals head-on should be a top priority for the tech industry, and the government is right to ramp up pressure on this crucial issue. For too long online fraudsters have been running riot, with scams and cyber traps costing billions to the economy and destroying businesses.

He continued, “Hiring enforcement officers to investigate these incidents is a step in the right direction, but we need to see much more aggressive action to prosecute and jail offenders, sending a clear signal that the fightback against cyber crime has truly begun.”

Representatives discussed the development of an online fraud charter with the tech sector to respond to the growing volume of fraud originating on social media platforms. The charter will ensure that tech firms take action to block scams, make it easier to report frauds and ensure that fraudulent content is removed swiftly. The Security Minister has also called on tech firms to implement stronger measures to tackle fraud on their platforms ahead of the introduction of the Online Safety Bill.

Representatives also discussed the development of a cross-government anti-fraud public awareness campaign to streamline and simplify messaging to the public. The Security Minister encouraged partners to collaborate with government on the preparation and delivery of the campaign.

This included the creation of a new National Fraud Squad to overhaul how these crimes are investigated by taking a proactive, intelligence-led approach, backed by 400 new specialist investigators, working with local forces, international partners and the UK intelligence community to shut down fraud cells.

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UK security minister announces fraud crackdown