Sorting by


New blueprint to protect public from scammers

A new elite team of specialist investigators will turn the tables on fraudsters as part of the government’s new action to tackle fraud and stop scammers from exploiting people.

The new National Fraud Squad will overhaul how these crimes are investigated by taking a proactive, intelligence-led approach, backed by 400 new specialist investigators. It will work with local forces, international partners and the UK intelligence community to ensure that callous fraud cells who target millions of Brits each day are shut down.

Fraud is now the most common crime in the UK, with 1 in 15 of us falling victim, costing nearly £7 billion a year. With developments in modern technology opening up new avenues for criminals to target victims, 9 in 10 internet users have also encountered online scams.

The Fraud Strategy, being unveiled today, marks a step forward in the government’s fight back against scammers, in response to how these crimes have evolved.

New measures will close the routes that scammers use to target victims, including by banning cold calls on all financial products – such as types of insurance or sham crypto currency schemes – and working with Ofcom to use new technology to further clamp down on number ‘spoofing’, so fraudsters cannot impersonate legitimate UK phone numbers.

Government will also ban other devices or methods commonly harnessed by scammers to reach thousands of people at once such as so-called ‘SIM farms’ and review the use of mass texting services to keep these technologies out of the hands of criminals.

To make it easier for victims to report fraud and rebuild confidence that cases are being dealt with properly, a new system, replacing the current Action Fraud service will be up and running within the year. Backed by a £30 million investment, it will provide a simpler route for reporting fraud online, with reduced waiting times and an online portal to allow victims to get timely updates on the progress of their case. This improved service will also ensure victims’ reports are acted upon more effectively, using data to ensure we can continue to build intelligence as criminals continue to find new ways to target victims.

Seventy per cent of fraud in the UK either starts overseas or has an international link – to drive forward global efforts to tackle these crimes, the government will work bilaterally to raise fraud as a key priority. The Home Secretary will host the first global fraud summit in the UK to guarantee international collaboration to tackle this threat.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

Scammers ruin lives in seconds, deceiving people in the most despicable ways in order to line their pockets.

We will take the fight to these fraudsters, wherever they try to hide. By blocking scams at the source, boosting protections for people and bolstering enforcement, we will stop more of these cold-hearted crimes from happening in the first place and make sure justice is done.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said:

Fraud is a blight on our country with ruthless criminals scamming the British public out of their hard-earned cash. They exploit people’s trust and steal their life savings, shattering their confidence and leaving them feeling vulnerable. It also fuels serious organised crime and terrorism. Meanwhile scammers are adapting, taking advantage of new technology to prey on more victims.

It is vital we adopt a new approach to this threat. The Fraud Strategy outlines how we will use all levers available to us – through government, law enforcement, industry and international partners – to track down these criminals, intercept their scams and bring them to justice.

To push the response to fraud at the highest level, a new Anti-Fraud Champion, Anthony Browne MP, has been appointed. He will draw on his considerable experience as the former CEO of the British Banking Association to drive collaboration with industry and represent the UK internationally.

Anti-Fraud Champion, Anthony Browne MP said:

Fraud has grown to be the biggest form of crime in the UK, causing financial and emotional distress to millions of people.

The tech sector, phone companies and financial services firms must take responsibility for protecting their users by stopping fraud happening in the first place, and work together to design out fraud. We can use the technologies fraudsters are exploiting against them to stop them in their tracks, and I will work with industry to make sure that happens.

In plans announced today, banks will be allowed to delay payments from being processed for longer to allow for suspicious payments to be investigated, keeping cash out of the hands of fraudsters and stopping more people from falling victim.

We are working with the largest tech companies to make it as simple as possible to report fraud online, whether it be scam adverts or false celebrity endorsements. This means, regardless of which social media platform you are on, you should be able to find the ‘report’ button within a single click, and ‘report fraud or scam’ within another. TikTok and Snapchat already offer this for adverts but have committed to extending to other types of content.

Further measures include:

  • rolling out tailored support to victims at a local level across the whole of England and Wales through the National Economic Crime Victim Care Unit
  • launching an independent review of the challenges in investigating and prosecuting fraud to speed up the justice process, punishing more scammers and ensuring sentences match the severity of the impact on victims
  • deploying the UK intelligence community to identify and disrupt more fraudsters overseas
  • publishing regular data on the volume of fraudulent content hosted on different websites and platforms to incentivise companies to root these out and better protect users – government will launch a consultation on how best to deliver this, including regularity of publications

Today’s plans build on action already taken to step up protections for victims and clamp down on the criminals responsible for these crimes. That includes:

  • legislating to ensure more victims of fraud get their money back, by requiring financial institutions to reimburse victims of authorised fraud
  • making fraud a national priority for police forces, to help ramp up the response at local force level
  • investing £400 million for law enforcement to tackle economic crime, including fraud, over the next 3 years
  • new duties on tech companies through the Online Safety Bill to put systems in place to tackle scams on their platforms and publish annual transparency reports on their work to tackle online harms

Graeme Biggar, Director General of the National Crime Agency, said:

The NCA welcomes the new Fraud Strategy and our role in the National Fraud Squad. Through the National Economic Crime Centre, we will drive a proactive intelligence led response, holding fraudsters to account and protecting the public from criminals who operate increasingly online and overseas. We want fraudsters to feel the same vulnerability they inflict upon their victims, as we target their infrastructure, expose their identities and bring them to justice.

Commissioner Angela McLaren from the City of London Police, which is the National Lead Force for fraud, said:

We welcome this strategy and the much-needed investment in policing to deliver against it. Tackling fraud requires a collective effort and we will continue to work with our partners across law enforcement and industry, doing everything in our power to pursue fraudsters and reduce the devastating harm they cause.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button