A coalition of consumer groups, charities and financial services industry bodies, including Which? UK Finance, Martin Lewis and MoneySaving Expert, the Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association (PIMFA), the Investment Association, the Association of British Insurers and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, among many others is today (20 July 2021) renewing its call for the Government to include paid for online adverts within the scope of the Online Safety Bill ahead of it being presented for pre-legislative scrutiny.
It comes as research from Which? found that the growing shift towards everyday tasks being carried out online following the onset of the pandemic has led to a devastating surge in scams.
Action Fraud figures, in the year to April 2021, show that 413,553 instances of fraud were reported – an increase of a third (33%) on the previous 12 months. More than £2.3 billion was lost by victims as a result, causing huge financial and mental distress.
Huw Evans, ABI Director General says: “The Online Safety Bill presents Government with the perfect opportunity to keep pace with the evolving scam threat and legislate to combat fraud proliferated through online advertising. Scams have a devastating effect on people’s lives, with many victims losing their life savings. We urge the Government to back the recommendation of the Financial Conduct Authority and reconsider the scope of the legislation in order to tackle this threat.”