UK Treasury Committee calls for government action on fraud and scam surge

A new report by the UK’s Treasury Select Committee has called on the government to work harder to tackle the ‘growing fraud epidemic’ in the UK.

The report – which focuses on Economic Crime – urges the government to legislate against online fraudulent adverts and to consider whether online giants should reimburse those who fall victim to scams on their platforms.

The Committee also called on the government to make reimbursement for victims of authorised push payment fraud mandatory.

Amongst a number of recommendations, the report called on law enforcement to be resourced appropriately to tackle the scale of the issue, as well as for the government to consider whether a single law enforcement agency with a clear responsibility to fight economic crime would be more effective.

There was also a call for proper regulation to be introduced to protect consumers from the fraud and money laundering that has became common in the cryptoasset industry. Other recommendations included higher company formation fees and reform of Companies House in order to stop fraudsters from hiding their identities behind UK companies to launder money and conduct crime.

Chair of the Treasury Committee Mel Stride MP said, “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.

“While the Government have made some progress in this area, we’re today calling on them to push harder and act faster on the growing fraud epidemic. 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.”

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