Government and industry meet to progress the fight against fraud

The Security Minister convened a meeting of the Joint Fraud Taskforce to discuss measures to tackle fraud including an online fraud charter

Representatives from across the private sector met at 10 Downing Street to update government on progress made to tackle fraud and protect the public from scams.

The Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, convened a meeting of the Joint Fraud Taskforce (JFT) to drive forward delivery of the commitments made in the Fraud Strategy, published earlier this year. With several actions already implemented, members of the group agreed to use the forum to continue to monitor progress.

Representatives discussed the development of an online fraud charter with the tech sector to respond to the growing volume of fraud originating on social media platforms. The charter will ensure that tech firms take action to block scams, make it easier to report frauds and ensure that fraudulent content is removed swiftly. The Security Minister has also called on tech firms to implement stronger measures to tackle fraud on their platforms ahead of the introduction of the Online Safety Bill.

Anti-Fraud Champion Anthony Browne said:

"Collaboration with industry is key to blocking fraud at source.

"Since stepping into my role, I’ve worked at pace with industry to ensure we are delivering on our commitment to cut off the channels fraudsters use to target us and protect people’s hard earned money.

"I will continue this conversation with tech sector bosses to ensure they are doing everything in their power to disrupt the callous fraudsters operating online and better protect their users."

Previous Joint Fraud Taskforce meetings have overseen the development and agreement of charters covering sectors such as retail banking and telecoms. The telecommunications charter has already resulted in massive action by the operators, with over 600 million scam texts blocked and vast numbers of scam calls filtered out before they can reach the public.

Representatives also discussed the development of a cross-government anti-fraud public awareness campaign to streamline and simplify messaging to the public. The Security Minister encouraged partners to collaborate with government on the preparation and delivery of the campaign.

Today’s meeting is the first since the publication of the government’s Fraud Strategy which set out a whole system response to tackling these crimes in the light of how they have evolved through modern technology.

This included the creation of a new National Fraud Squad to overhaul how these crimes are investigated by taking a proactive, intelligence-led approach, backed by 400 new specialist investigators, working with local forces, international partners and the UK intelligence community to shut down fraud cells.

Other measures in the strategy include:

  • banning cold calls on all financial products such as types of insurance or sham crypto currency schemes
  • working with Ofcom to use new technology to further clamp down on number ‘spoofing’, so fraudsters cannot impersonate legitimate UK phone numbers
  • banning the use of so-called ‘SIM farms’ commonly harnessed by scammers to reach thousands of people at once
  • reviewing the use of mass texting services
  • rolling out tailored support to victims at a local level across the whole of England and Wales through the National Economic Crime Victim Care Unit
  • launching an independent review of the challenges in investigating and prosecuting fraud to speed up the justice process, punishing more scammers and ensuring sentences match the severity of the impact on victims
  • deploying the UK intelligence community to identify and disrupt more fraudsters overseas
  • publishing regular data on the volume of fraudulent content hosted on different websites and platforms to incentivise companies to root these out and better protect users.

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
  • Cifas
  • 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)
  • TechUK
  • Google
  • Communications Crime Strategy Group (CCSG)
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • Welsh Government
  • Department of Justice Northern Ireland

Home Office
The Rt Hon Tom Tugendhat MBE VR MP