News In Brief - September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021
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Police ought to do more to tackle online fraud, the City of London Board chair has said.

Time To Put Fraud Front And Centre, Says City Police Chair

The UK government ought to dedicate more resources to tackling cyber-fraud, according to James Thompson, chair of the City of London's police authority board.

It is now the biggest type of crime, making up one-third of all crimes. It is not, as some believe, a victimless crime, he said during a dinner attended by Damian Hinds, a home office minister.

“Not only does fraud affect millions of UK citizens each year, some of whom are very vulnerable, but it also weakens our economy and threatens our international reputation as a safe place in which to do business," he said.

Thompson said that he hoped that the government would consider broadening the reach of the Online Harms bill, which is expected to rein in bigtech companies greatly. The bill is working its way through parliament now and is the subject of many calls for extra provisions from public figures such as Thompson.

Thompson thought that fraud should be “one of the designated priority harms” in the bill. He also wanted the bill to tackle paid-for advertising that supports the spread of investment scams.

“It is vital for online platforms, such as social media companies, to take a legal responsibility to identify, remove, and prevent false and fraudulent activity on their websites," he said, adding that this is something that technology companies have so far failed to do effectively.

"Introducing the right regulatory framework is now essential," he said.

Thompson echoes the thoughts of Charles Randell, the chair of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), who has also called for a better regulatory set-up to prevent scams on social media.

“Consumer awareness requires online platforms to step up. They can give advice about scams at the moment when consumers are about to make bad decisions,” he said, telling onlookers that the FCA and PSR were going to work with online platforms that wanted to protect both consumers and their own reputations.

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