ICT: Fraud

Home Office written question – answered at on 6 February 2024.

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Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will take steps to ensure that (a) technology and (b) telecommunications companies help to prevent fraud.

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

The Online Safety Act (OSA) received Royal Assent last year and will require the tech sector to tackle fraud on their platforms or face significant fines from Ofcom.

Alongside the OSA, on the 30th November, the Government announced the Online Fraud Charter. This is the first voluntary agreement of its kind, in which the largest tech companies in the world have committed to implementing new measures to combat fraud in the UK. The Charter’s commitments seek improvements to blocking fraud at source, making reporting fraud easier for users and decreasing the time it takes to remove content and ads found to be fraudulent. The Charter also seeks to improve data sharing across the sector and with law enforcement, and to increase the transparency of risks on platforms and services.

The Government and the telecommunications industry also signed the Telecommunications Fraud Sector Charter in 2021. Since then, the sector has introduced firewalls that detect and stop scam texts from reaching customers, as well as deploying measures to prevent scam calls. The firewalls have stopped 870 million scam text messages since January 2022.

The Government is also taking legislative action to ban “SIM farms”, devices that allow criminals to send scam texts to thousands of people at the same time.

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