Big Tech strikes UK agreement to tackle online fraud

Big Tech online fraud Image credit: lev radin / Shutterstock

A group of Big Tech firms – including Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Meta – have agreed to sign an agreement with the UK government to tackle online fraud more effectively.

The Online Fraud Charter will be signed on Thursday by the group of 11 Big Tech firms in a meeting hosted by James Cleverly, the home secretary.

By signing the charter, the participating companies, which also include Snapchat, Match, TikTok and eBay, agree to take further action in preventing, blocking and deleting instances of fraud hosted on their sites.

“Fraud is now the most common crime in the UK, with online scammers targeting the most vulnerable in society,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“By joining forces with these tech giants, we will continue to crack down on fraudsters, making sure they have nowhere to hide online.”

Participants of the charter will agree to work closely with law enforcement, provide easy routes to report fraud and increase the levels of peer-to-peer verification on marketplaces and dating sites.

“The Online Fraud Charter is a big step forward in our efforts to protect the public from sophisticated, adaptable and highly organised criminals,” said Cleverly.

“An agreement of this kind has never been done on this scale before and I am exceptionally pleased to see tech firms working with us to turn the tide against fraudsters.

“Our work does not end here – I will continue to ensure we collaborate across government, and with law enforcement and the private sector, to ensure everyone in the UK is better protected from fraud.”

However, consumer advocacy group Which? said it is concerned that the agreement is voluntary.

“It’s positive that the government is at last progressing its strategy to tackle the problem, but we are concerned that these measures are voluntary and still sector-specific,” said Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy.

“It is vital that the government works quickly to open up more public sources of data to strengthen fraud intelligence and to stop fraudsters jumping across channels attacking consumers.”