UK Wants 'To Lead International Response On Fraud' With New Summit

March 12, 2024
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Representatives of key economies such as the UK, US and EU have come together for an inaugural conference to tackle fraud problems.

Representatives of key economies such as the UK, US and EU have come together for an inaugural conference to tackle fraud problems. 

International ministers are set to agree on new action to take down fraudsters as the first-ever Global Fraud Summit began on Monday (March 11). 

The agenda includes exploring how closer partnerships with the private sector can be used to counter criminality and reimburse victims of crime.

“Fraudsters have no regard for boundaries, they devastate citizens in all our countries,” said James Cleverly, the UK’s home secretary. “We will only put a stop to this scourge if we fight it head-on together, and that’s precisely what we plan to do.”

Cleverly said that the summit delivers on “yet another pledge” made as part of the UK’s Fraud Strategy, which was launched in June last year. 

“The action we’ve taken has already reduced fraud by 13 percent in England and Wales,” said Tom Tugendhat, the UK's security minister. “However, the majority of frauds originate from overseas, and many are linked to international crime groups.”

“That’s why we’re hosting the first-ever global fraud summit,” he said, stating that the UK wants to lead the international response on fraud and to engage other jurisdictions on the matter. 

Interpol highlights fraud trends

The fraud summit began on the same day as Interpol published its financial fraud study, which has revealed that advance payment fraud, business email compromises and romance fraud are some of the most common trends affecting different countries globally. 

Interpol’s findings reveal that fraud is often perpetrated by organised criminal groups, including human traffickers, who force people to work in scam centres that target potential victims of fraud across the world. 

“We are facing an epidemic in the growth of financial fraud, leading to individuals, often vulnerable people, and companies being defrauded on a massive and global scale,” said Jürgen Stock, Interpol’s chief. 

Stock continued that changes in technology and the rapid increase in the scale and volume of organised crime have driven the creation of a range of new ways to defraud people, businesses and governments. 

“With the development of AI and cryptocurrencies, the situation is only going to get worse without urgent action,” he added.

It is hoped that one of the outcomes of the event will be enhanced partnerships between crime agencies such as the FBI, Europol and the UK’s National Crime Agency, including shared resources and expertise. 

“It is important that there are no safe havens for financial fraudsters to operate,” said Stock. 

The Interpol chief, who has been in the position since 2014, said that government and regulators must work to close existing gaps and ensure information sharing between sectors and across borders is the norm, not the exception.

“We also need to encourage greater reporting of financial crime as well as invest in capacity building and training for law enforcement to develop a more effective and truly global response.”

Industry welcomes fraud summit

Key trade associations, such as UK Finance and techUK have welcomed the global summit. 

“The UK and its financial services sector are at the forefront of efforts to tackle this criminal activity,” said David Postings, chief executive of UK Finance. “We’re delighted to be part of the UK government’s international summit and will continue working to stop fraud from happening in the first place.”

Meanwhile, Antony Walker, deputy CEO of techUK, said that the summit “will provide tech companies with the platform to build upon their existing efforts and enable better and more consistent cooperation between the private sector, government, and law enforcement in the fight against fraud and online scams”.

“As the nature of online fraud continues to evolve, tech companies remain committed to taking measures against online fraud, adapting their approaches to effectively counter this criminal activity and protect users,” said Walker.

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