10 Dec 2021

Major technology companies step up efforts to tackle financial fraud and scam adverts

techUK co-chairs the Online Fraud Steering Group (OFSG) and as part of our ongoing efforts to combat fraud, OFSG members Meta, Microsoft and Twitter are committing to introduce a revised advertising onboarding process that requires UK regulated financial services to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority prior to serving financial services adverts on their sites.

Official announcement 

Twitter, Meta and Microsoft have all committed that they will introduce a revised advertising onboarding process that requires UK regulated financial services advertisers to be authorised by FCA prior to serving financial services adverts on their sites.

Each company will operate their own processes and have differing timelines for when the policies will come into place.

This revised onboarding process is driven in partnership with the UK Financial Conduct Authority as part of ongoing efforts to help prevent online advertising financial fraud and scams.

Explanatory note

Online Fraud Steering Group (OFSG) members Facebook/Meta, Twitter, and Microsoft are committing to introduce a revised advertising onboarding process that requires UK regulated financial services to be authorised by FCA prior to serving financial services adverts to their sites.

This commitment has been formed as part of ongoing OFSG collaboration which involves partnership between techUK, Home Office, law enforcement, Financial Conduct Authority and is contributing to ongoing efforts to help disrupt fraudsters and prevent financial scams.

Google, TikTok and Amazon are also part of the Online Fraud Steering Group and have already implemented policies for financial services advertisers:

  • Since August 2021 Google has operated an advertising verification initiative for advertisers of financial services. As part of this verification initiative any advertisers wanting to show in-scope financial services adverts in the UK must demonstrate that they are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority or qualify for an appropriate exemption.
  • Since September 2020, TikTok has operated an advertising verification initiative for advertisers of financial services. As part of this verification initiative any advertisers wanting to show in-scope financial services adverts in the UK must demonstrate that they are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority or qualify for an appropriate exemption.
  • Amazon Ads already requires in-scope financial services advertisers to be authorised by the FCA. Amazon Ads has recently enhanced its advertising onboarding process which now requires UK regulated financial services advertisers to specifically confirm they are authorised (or qualify for an appropriate exemption) by the FCA prior to serving financial services adverts on Amazon Ads’ sites.

These changes were made as part of a shared commitment to helping prevent financial fraud and scams.

Under these new provisions, UK services which are regulated by the FCA will need to be authorised by the regulator prior to the promotion of financial products which target UK users. There is no set timeline for when these changes will come into force and processes will vary from company to company.

This commitment is part of ongoing efforts from the tech sector to combat financial fraud and scam adverts. As we have all moved our lives online and increased our digital footprints fraudsters have adapted to use sophisticated techniques which prey on the vulnerabilities of society. Tech companies are making changes to help protect the public from the organised criminals who are promoting financial scams.

Google, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter encourage other companies and publishers of advertising to commit to the same requirement to reduce the opportunity for fraudsters and provide maximum protection for individuals.

About the Online Fraud Steering Group  

In April 2021 techUK members Facebook/Meta, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and Amazon joined the banking sector and law enforcement to form the Online Fraud Steering Group.

The Online Fraud Steering Group is a public/private group focused on reducing the threat from fraud in the UK. The formation of the OFSG, which is co-chaired by the National Economic Crime Centre, UK Finance and techUK, follows on from a roundtable hosted by Government Ministers in April 2021.

This is the first time that technology, banking and finance sectors, government and law enforcement have come together to work to collectively tackle fraud. Such collaboration is critical in tackling fraud and the criminal networks that profit from it.


 

Lulu Freemont

Lulu Freemont

Head of Digital Regulation, techUK

Lulu is Head of Digital Regulation at techUK, working across areas related to digital regulation, such as online harms and competition.

Prior to working at techUK, Lulu worked at social enterprise Parent Zone for a number of years, heading up the Policy and Public Affairs team. Working closely with technology companies, Parliamentarians and schools, her focus was on building digital resilience to help improve outcomes for children growing up in a digital world.

Lulu holds a MA (Hons) in Human Rights Law from SOAS, and a BA (Hons) in Politics from the University of Exeter.

Email:
[email protected]
Website:
www.techuk.org/
LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lulu-freemont-b087a8a2

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