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UK should legislate to prevent scam ads online – FCA

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ReutersEconomy6 minutes ago (Oct 21, 2021 06:27AM ET)

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is seen at the agency’s headquarters in the Canary Wharf business district of London April 1, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain should legislate to stop scam adverts online, to help combat a surge in fraud attacks on consumers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Thursday.

The regulator said paid-for advertising promoting scams should be included in the government’s planned Online Safety Bill, which currently only covers user-generated content.

The watchdog said fraud should be classed as ‘priority’ illegal content, requiring online platforms such as Google (NASDAQ:) and Facebook (NASDAQ:) to monitor and take preventative action.

The call comes amid growing alarm among lawmakers, banks and consumer groups about a fraud epidemic in Britain, with criminals stealing a record 754 million pounds ($1 billion)through scams in the first six months of this year.

The FCA made the recommendation as part of its so-called “perimeter report”, an annual review of its remit.

The watchdog also repeated its call to close loopholes in rules that currently allow high-risk investments to be promoted to consumers.

“We see real risks to consumers from outside our remit from both online advertising and from those using exemptions to sell products to ordinary customers,” said Nikhil Rathi, Chief Executive of the FCA.

“Change is needed and we will continue to push for powers where we need them.”

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