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Tech giants on board to bust online scams: UK govt

by Agence France Presse

LONDON, United Kingdom: Eleven global tech giants have pledged to do more to tackle the scourge of online scammers, the UK government said on Thursday, billing the promise as a world first.

Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Match Group, Microsoft, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube have signed up to the Online Fraud Charter, which ministers say will better protect users.

The tech giants have promised to take tougher action within six months to block and remove scams, such as fake adverts and romance fraud, from their platforms.

Actions include verifying new advertisers, better checks on online marketplaces, and giving users of dating sites the opportunity to prove their real identity.

The voluntary charter, developed with the tech firms, will also seek to prevent ads for age-restricted products such as alcohol or gambling being seen by children.

Interior minister James Cleverly described the Online Fraud Charter as “a big step forward” towards protecting the public from “sophisticated, adaptable and highly organized criminals”.

“An agreement of this kind has never been done on this scale before and I am exceptionally pleased to see tech firms working with us to turn the tide against fraudsters,” he added.

The government said each signatory has vowed to work closely with law enforcement to target fraudsters, by reporting suspicious activity, helping to identify those responsible and removing the content.

Fraud makes up about 40 percent of all crime in England and Wales, while 80 percent of all authorized push payment fraud originates from social media or a fake website.

The deputy chief executive of the techUK trade association, Antony Walker, said the new measures build on those that tech firms already have in place.

But it will enable “better and more consistent cooperation between the private sector, government and law enforcement,” he added.

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