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Britain open to law to combat rise in online scams

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Britain open to law to combat rise in online scams

Britain is open to legislating to stop an explosion in scam adverts online being a significant source of fraud, financial services minister John Glen has told lawmakers.

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Victims' groups and campaigners have called for fraudulent adverts to be incorporated in the government's planned Online Safety Bill, which currently only covers user-generated content.

"We are very sympathetic to that," Glen told the Treasury Select Committee. "This is a massive problem. This is a significant opportunity in the absence of a better solution."

A British record of 754 million pounds (US$1 billion) was stolen in the first six months of this year, up 30per cent from the same period in 2020, according to data from banking industry body UK Finance, and up more than 60per cent from 2017, when it began compiling the figures.

Several government departments are involved in trying to stop online scams, raising concerns among committee members that solutions are too slow to emerge.

"You're being very good at describing how difficult it all is, but what are you actually going to be doing about it?" said lawmaker Angela Eagle.

Glen said the finance ministry was liaising with the digital, culture, media and sport ministry (DCMS) - which is also looking at the problem of online scams - to try and find the best solution.

The Treasury committee has previously told representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon and eBay they needed to do more to combat fraud.

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