We all have a right to feel safe in our own home. While technological advances have helped bring us closer to friends and family in so many ways, we also know that criminals use scam texts, phone calls and fake advertising as ways to target potential victims.
Fighting fraud has been made a priority for all police forces by including fraud in the national Strategic Policing Requirement, and by specifying the capabilities each force should have in place to tackle fraud. The Prime Minister has now confirmed further measures to crack down on this crime.
Firstly, there will be closer working with telecommunications and tech businesses to stop fraud at source. Fraudulent text messages and cold calling will be targeted, helping to prevent fraudsters impersonating legitimate businesses, and placing a duty on social media companies to prevent fraud.
Government will launch a consultation on the best way to ban ‘SIM farms’ which are most commonly used to send scam text messages as well as being utilised by drug dealers.
Cold calls on all financial products will be banned so criminals will not be able to trick people into buying fake investments. Alongside this will run a public awareness campaign, ensuring people know that cold calls about financial products are a scam.
Secondly, more will be done to catch fraudsters and bring them to justice. A National Fraud Squad will be backed by some £100 million and will not only target fraudsters overseas, but will review sentences for this intrusive crime.
The National Crime Agency and City of London Police will jointly lead the National Fraud Squad: its more than 400 new staff will take a proactive and intelligence-led approach.
Our intelligence services will identify more fraudsters based abroad, supported by a multi-agency fraud cell. Last November the ‘iSpoof’ website, which impersonated UK banks, was taken down in this way.
Thirdly, the rights of victims will be enhanced with the law changed so more victims get their money back from their bank. The public will be empowered to recognise, avoid and report fraud: with expansion of Action Fraud services and ensuring it is easier to report fraud online.
If you are a victim of ‘unauthorised fraud’ such as bank card theft you can get money back from your bank within 48 hours. Victims of ‘authorised fraud’ (where a victim is tricked into handing their money over) are not offered these protections as it stands. This is why the law is being changed through the Government’s Financial Services & Markets Bill so that all such victims are entitled to these protections.
Henry Smith MP