JEFF PRESTRIDGE: As we hurtle towards a digital-only world, social media MUST help tackle fraud
As we hurtle towards a digital-only world, it’s inevitable fraud will increasingly become financial enemy number one.
While pickpockets will still earn a crust – they managed to steal my mother’s payment cards earlier this year while out shopping in her local Sainsbury’s – it’s the web where the big money from fraud can now be ‘earned’.
As I report here, the trickery of fraudsters knows no bounds. Whether it’s by using social media, cloning investment websites, or tricking people into revealing financial details so as to give them a key to unlock their finances, fraudsters are thriving in lockdown UK.
Much of the rising tide of online fraud is stemming from social media (Google and Facebook)
Unless something is done quickly to push them back, I fear they will wreak havoc with our financial lives.
It seems the Government is aware of this issue. Last week, in between the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition clashing like two fighting cocks at Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson was asked about what he would do to combat the rising tide of online fraud – much of it stemming from social media (Google and Facebook).
Johnson’s response was reassuring. Online fraud, he said, ‘is becoming an increasing concern of government and I think of people across the country’.
In recent weeks, representatives from the financial services industry (among them, Starling Bank boss Anne Boden and banking lobby group UK Finance), have called for the new Online Harms Bill to embrace the issue of financial fraud.
As it stands, this legislation will pave the way for big fines to be issued against companies (essentially social media providers) that fail to clamp down on those who use their platforms to promote terrorism, cyber-bully or commit hate crimes. But it omits any duty on these providers to wash their platforms clean of financial fraudsters.
Johnson said last week that ‘we will look at what we can do’ with regards to embracing financial harm in the proposed legislation.
It’s a step in the right direction, but he should be braver and say it WILL be included.
Social media must be required to play its part in combating financial fraud.