The roadmap to creating online fraud charters for the tech industry was discussed during a meeting at 10 Downing Street held by the Joint Fraud Taskforce (JFT). The meeting, set up by Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, invited Taskforce members to gather agreeing to supervise progress on tackling fraud and minimising devastating scams on the public through public-private collaboration.
Government inaction over fraud since 2017
Since 2017, the government has prioritised designating responsibility within the private sector for fraud preventative measures, amid a persistent but evolving landscape of fraud affecting everyone.
Representatives that gathered for the government’s meeting at number 10 expressed emboldened aims to target the tech industry in developing an online fraud charter to regulate social media. Charters have been agreed already with the telecoms industry, banking and retail to assign action to private entities.
The responsibility is ultimately with the Home Office to get a hold on spiralling cases of fraud, but collaboration is key to stimulating more progress, said newly created Anti-Fraud Champion, Anthony Browne.
41% of all crimes committed in England and Wales are fraud related, with 3.8 million incidents in the year to July 2023, which shines a disappointing light on the lack of progress made in the last 5 years. The House of Common Committee on Public Accounts came to these judgements and as technology-driven scams are largely driving the increase, the Joint Fraud Taskforce (JFT) pledged to make technology companies accountable for the correlation between fraudsters harnessing modern technologies and identifying vulnerabilities.
“As more and more data is held online, large scale data breaches enable fraudsters to access and use stolen personal information to commit their frauds”.
The public sector response to fraud management is led by the Public Sector Fraud Authority (PFSA) who manage the connection of fraud professionals across government and public bodies.
The Taskforce has set an ambition to close a new charter agreement with tech companies by the end of summer 2023 and oversee impacts of the industry reporting fraud and meeting voluntary targets. Industry action will also include establishing a charter in the insurance and other sectors by early 2024 with continued commitment from the government, law enforcement and regulators.
With only a voluntary obligation in place, progress remains disjointed between all different sectors although the Telecommunications Charter and Banking Protocol have prevented fraudsters from getting an upper hand. 600 million scam text messages were stopped since January 2022.
The government is working with TechUK to encourage the onus on more tech companies to report scams that have evaded detection and will consider mandating a “swift reporting mechanism” if voluntary action towards this is insufficient.
Organisations in attendance at the JFT included:
- HM Treasury
- National Cyber Security Centre
- National Economic Crime Centre (NECC)
- City of London Police
- National Trading Standards
- UK Finance
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
- Victim Support
- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- Law Society of England and Wales
- Association of British Insurers (ABI)
- Communications Crime Strategy Group (CCSG)
- Serious Fraud Office
- Welsh Government
- Department of Justice Northern Ireland
For more information on the measures in the strategy, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-and-industry-meet-to-progress-the-fight-against-fraud