Matt Burton, chief risk officer at Quilter, comments on the Treasury Committee’s report on Economic Crime:
“Fraud and economic crime are swiftly rising up the political agenda. Lord Agnew’s resignation over Covid loan fraud last week has focused minds in government on the fact that scammers can often act with impunity, as if the rules don’t apply to them. The Treasury Committee’s report today is extremely welcome and will help push the government to act harder and faster on the growing fraud epidemic.
“Once again, the message to government is clear. Fraud via online advertising must be considered as part of the Online Safety Bill, and should be considered ‘priority illegal content’. As a result, online content providers, including search engines and social media sites, will have a legal duty to remove suspected scam posts and scam ads swiftly.
“Ultimately, it is the technology companies with the technology and capability to identify scams using automated methods, and not individuals. It’s about time that the balance of responsibility was shifted towards the tech companies. As part of this, Know Your Customer checks could be a crucial way of preventing scammers from accessing search engines and social media in the first place.
“Online platforms won’t take deterrents seriously until they have a financial incentive to do so, and that has to come from compensation. It’s good to see the Committee recommend the government seriously consider whether online companies are required to contribute compensation when fraud is conducted on their platforms.”