01 Oct 2021

Online Fraud Steering Group: collaborative efforts to disrupt fraudsters

techUK is working in partnership with UK Finance and the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) to open cross-sector dialogues and form tangible solutions which reduce the threat of financial fraud.

Set up in April 2021, the Online Fraud Steering Group (OFSG) is a joint public-private initiative co-chaired by techUK’s President Jacqueline de Rojas, Director General at the NECC Graeme Biggar and UK Finance’s CEO David Postings.

The OFSG brings together senior representatives from the tech sector, financial services and law enforcement to collaborate and take collective action to disrupt fraudsters. Supporting the Home Office’s upcoming 2022 - 2025 Fraud Action Plan the group aims to:

  • render the UK the least attractive place for online fraudsters to operate;
  • involve all relevant sectors as required to collaborate and form targeted responses to prevent different types of fraud;
  • share information and best practices to ensure a shared understanding around online fraud and its complexities;
  • bring improve coordination between law enforcement and the tech and banking sectors;
  • and enhance public communication around the complexities of financial fraud and promote consumer awareness.

Since being formed, the group has agreed a delivery infrastructure, operational principles, and governance, including how it will engage with the Home Office’s Joint Fraud Taskforce. Four key worksreams have begun work to cut accross different fraud typologies, taking a 'fraud agnostic approach' to account for how the situation is constantly shifting: 1) online advertising, 2) developing a threat assessment 3) enhancing communications and education and 4) striving for innovative and preventative solutions. 

To kick start collaborative efforts, the education and awareness sub-group announced on 15 September 2021 that tech companies Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft and TikTok have collectively donated $ 1 million worth of advertising to the Take 5 to Stop Fraud campaign. Increasing consumer awareness about types of fraudulent activity is an important part of this collaboration and this pledge of support will enable Take 5 messages to reach a significant proportion of the online population.

Alongside this collaborative initiative, techUK has been exploring the ways in which fraud is dealt with across Government. It appears that this activity is on the fringes of Government departments and regulators who understandably all have a specialist area of interest. However, due to the nature of fraud being led by patterns of behaviour techUK believes that a fragmented response to this issue will not be effective in solving the problem in the long term.

One key issue which techUK is looking to understand further is the end-to-end journey of fraud typologies including how fraud intersects different sectors at different stages. Enabling sectors to understand what information needs to be shared and when their interventions will be most meaningful has the potential to disrupt the patterns of behaviour and ultimately will serve to mitigate types of fraud.

The OFSG is a useful example to demonstrate how collaboration and connectivity between sectors can strive to disrupt fraudsters and form tangible system changes. We are pleased to see progress with this group and are looking forward to our continued work with the NECC and UK Finance as part of our shared ambition to combat fraud. 

Tackling fraud and ensuring customer safety is a major on-going priority for tech companies. Support for the Take Five campaign builds on years of investment and activity to tackle cyber threats including online fraud. The support by major tech companies for the Take Five campaign is part of a collaborative and innovative whole-system approach to tackling online fraud. This pledge of support will help the Take Five campaign reach an even wider audience and ensure consistency of messaging across the technology, banking, and finance industries.

Julian David

CEO, techUK

Lulu Freemont

Lulu Freemont

Policy Manager, Digital Regulation, techUK

Lulu is a Policy Manager 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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