By: 7 December 2023
Government and tech giants unite against online scams

The UK Government has joined forces with 11 of the world’s biggest tech companies to clamp down on fraud taking place online.

On 30 November, the home secretary signed the online fraud charter. Tech companies have also signed the agreement, committing to tackle online scams and fake ads affecting their users.

Fraud is the most common crime in the UK. The government has joined forces with leading tech companies such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Match Group, Microsoft, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube – to develop and commit to the online fraud charter.

A raft of measures will be brought in to help protect people from fraud and scam content when using these sites. Actions include verifying new advertisers and removing any fraudulent content.

Tough actions will support the charter. There will be a crack down on illegal advertisements and ads for age-restricted products. An action plan, agreed by the online advertising taskforce, was also published, setting out steps that the industry and government are taking to tackle harms and increase protections for children.

Prime minister, Rishi Sunak said:

“We have already taken action to go after these unscrupulous criminals, launching our fraud strategy and deploying a national fraud squad made up of 400 dedicated officers, all backed by £400 million.

“For the first time, we are beginning to see a drop in fraud cases, but we must do more.

“By joining forces with these tech giants we will continue to crack down on fraudsters, making sure they have nowhere to hide online.” 

Home secretary James Cleverly commented:

“An agreement of this kind has never been done on this scale before and I am exceptionally pleased to see tech firms working with us to turn the tide against fraudsters.

“Our work does not end here – I will continue to ensure we collaborate across government, and with law enforcement and the private sector, to ensure everyone in the UK is better protected from fraud.”

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said:

“We are in the midst of an epidemic of scams, which not only devastate people’s financial lives, but their mental health and sense of self-esteem too.

I’ve long called for regulation and law changes to make these big tech firms step up to the plate and deny these scammers the oxygen of publicity. So I am pleased at the signing of this voluntary agreement, which is adopting many of the scam ad protection measures we’ve been calling for – such as two click reporting, and advertiser and site destination verification.

“We will be watching closely to check these companies work hard, and work together to make good on their promises”

Image: Canva
Emma Cockings
Emma is a junior editor for Claims Media.