UK MPs are calling on the Government to legislate on mandatory reimbursement by banks to victims of authorised push payment fraud and new rules to bring Big Tech to heel over social media scams.
A new report by the cross-party Treasury Select Committee is calling on the Government to "push harder and act faster on the growing fraud epidemic".
The report urges the Government to legislate against online fraudulent adverts and seriously consider whether online giants should reimburse those who fall victim to scams on their platforms.
The Committee also recommends that the Government "urgently" legislates to make reimbursement for victims of ‘authorised push payment fraud’ mandatory - an issue which has already been taken up by rule makers and industry watchdogs.
In a series of other recommendations, the report calls for law enforcement to be appropriately resourced to tackle the scale of the problem, for the Government to consider whether a single law enforcement agency with a clear responsibility to fight economic crime would be more effective, and for proper regulation to be introduced to protect consumers from fraud and money laundering in the cryptoasset industry.
The Committee also advocates higher company formation fees and Companies House reform in order to prevent fraudsters from hiding their identities behind UK businesses to launder money and conduct crime, and pushes for the Government to set out the legislation it is current working on which could be included in an Economic Crime Bill.
Mel Stride, chair of the Treasury Committee, says: "For too long, pernicious scammers have acted with impunity, ripping off innocent consumers with fraudulent online adverts, impersonation scams and dodgy crypto investments.
"Unfortunately, fraud has soared during the pandemic, and as MPs we’ve heard heart-breaking stories of individuals who have fallen victim to these criminals and lost large sums of money.
"Some of our recommendations, such as legislating against online scam adverts, can be implemented quickly. Others, including crypto regulation and Companies House reform, will require a longer-term approach. Taken together, our proposals give the UK a fighting chance to get back on the front foot and stop these scammers in their tracks.”