Online fraud accounts for 40% of all crimes reported in England and Wales, with the majority of incidents happening online
Ofcom found that nine out of 10 adults in the UK think they have come across content connected with a scam and 25% admitted to losing money as a result. Many victims said it not only impacted their wallets but also their mental health.
As the online safety regulator, Ofcom has issued a revised Code of Practice to support the Online Safety Act that was passed last month.
The online safety rules ‘make it harder for fraudsters to operate online’ by making online service providers assess the risks of the user being harmed while using their platforms.
With the rate technology is advancing fraudsters are always adapting with the advancements, implementing social media and artificial intelligence (AI) to scam victims into sharing personal details, such as bank account details and addresses.
Under the new guidance, Ofcom has suggested measures for larger service providers that attract a greater level of risk, including the implementation of an automatic keyword search, employing an expert reporting system to contact regulators and law enforcement more easily, and installing a verification system for users.
They should also have to name an accountable person as a user, provide extensive training to content teams to recognise illegal activities, introduce a method of easy reporting for users and safety test recommended content.
The main attention is focused on protecting children against scams. Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom’s chief executive said: ‘Regulation is here, and we’re wasting no time in setting out how we expect tech firms to protect people from illegal harm online, while upholding freedom of expression. Children have told us about the dangers they face, and we’re determined to create a safer life online for young people in particular.’
Ofcom are planning on publishing a consultation on online fraud in January.
Michelle Donelan, science, innovation and technology secretary said: ‘Before the Bill became law, we worked with Ofcom to make sure they could act swiftly to tackle the most harmful illegal content first. By working with companies to set out how they can comply with these duties, the first of their kind anywhere in the world, the process of implementation starts today.’