Nations demand tech firms tackle scammers

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Governments from around the world have called on telcos and tech giants to strengthen their efforts in combating fraud conducted over their networks and platforms.

The calls were made at the inaugural Global Fraud Summit held at Lancaster House in London this week. Ministers and representatives from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, the UK, and the US attended the summit.

UK Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “Fraudsters have no regard for boundaries, they devastate citizens in all our countries. We will only put a stop to this scourge if we fight it head on together, and that’s precisely what we plan to do.”

The governments were supported at the summit by Interpol, the Financial Action Task Force, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and the European Union was also represented.

“Fraud against individuals and businesses has grown rapidly to become one of the most prevalent crimes globally and is an organised transnational threat,” a communique from the summit states.

“Fraudsters operate at scale, exploiting telecommunications networks, cyberspace, and a population that spends an increasing amount of time online.”

A four-part framework endorsed by the nations attending includes building international partnerships to tackle fraud, better empowering the public, pursuing transnational organised fraud groups, and preventing fraudsters from exploiting technology platforms.

On the latter, the communique states: “Technology companies (including social media, e-commerce and online messaging platforms and online advertising services), telecommunications providers and financial institutions (including traditional banks and digital financial institutions) all form part of the ecosystem that fraudsters exploit.”

The governments say they “expect [industry] to take further action to strengthen their counter-fraud efforts” and for “greater collaboration both within and across sectors.”

Among the specific calls are for telcos to crack down on tactics used by scammers to impersonate individuals and businesses over phone calls and texts. Efforts to remove fraudulent materials from online platforms were also demanded.

Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock commented: “Changes in technology and the rapid increase in the scale and volume of organised crime has driven the creation of a range of new ways to defraud innocent people, business and even governments. Urgent action is required.”

The nations committed to improving intelligence sharing among law enforcement, increasing operational activity against fraudsters in jurisdictions deemed as threats, and boosting global capacity building.

Better empowering the public to recognise and reject fraud tactics was also prioritised, along with improving victim support and enabling funds to be reclaimed.

Antony Walker, Deputy CEO of techUK said: “The Global Fraud Summit will provide tech companies with the platform to build upon their existing efforts and enable better and more consistent cooperation between the private sector, government, and law enforcement in the fight against fraud and online scams.

“As the nature of online fraud continues to evolve, tech companies remain committed to taking measures against online fraud, adapting their approaches to effectively counter this criminal activity and protect users.”

See also: French government cyber crisis teams ‘useless’ against DDoS

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