Hilary Osborne, 15 May 2021
The UK government’s online safety bill will “fail to protect millions” by leaving people at risk of falling victim to cloned websites and adverts paid for by fraudsters, experts warned this week.
The bill, included in Tuesday’s Queen’s speech, will “lead the way in ensuring internet safety for all”, according to the government.However, finance experts said its focus on user-generated content, such as social media posts involving romance scams or fake investment opportunities, left a loophole for criminals.
Debbie Barton, a financial crime prevention expert at the investment firm Quilter, said the bill would have a big impact on protecting investors, particularly young people, from financial harm but there was much further to go.
“The government should now consider including fraud facilitated through advertising, emails or cloned websites,” she said.
“With each day that passes, around £214,000 is lost to UK consumers from clone firm fraud, so the government should not kick the can even further down the road and should take action with this bill.”
The MoneySavingExpert founder, Martin Lewis, said the government had “stumbled at the first fence”.