Ruth Edwards, MP for Rushcliffe, will introduce a debate in Westminster Hall to raise the issue of online scams, calling for improved legislation to better protect UK consumers.
Ruth will speak about the need for internet companies, including search engines and social media sites, to patch loopholes in their verification procedures and prevent scammers from using their platforms for illicit activity.
More widely, Ruth will argue that more needs to be done to bring online media in line with TV, print and radio when it comes to governance and accountability, and that consumers that lose money through no fault of their own are consistently and adequately compensated.
Ruth will recount the distressing case of two of her constituents – a married couple that were scammed out of £30,000 by a ‘clone scam’, in which fraudsters placed fake adverts pretending to be Goldman Sachs right at the top of Google search results. These adverts trick the victim into purchasing a non-existent product, making a fake investment, or entering their financial information, which is then stolen.
Evidence suggests that the number of reports filed by consumers containing signs of severe emotional distress has also risen, highlighting the immense, unseen harm that online scams can cause to victims and their families.
Ahead of the debate, Ruth Edwards said:
“There are serious problems with the way online advertising is regulated.
It’s an issue of trust, and the burden shouldn’t be on the consumer to decide whether a link they’ve seen is a scam. Fraudsters should not be able to make a living by pretending to be real companies and targeting vulnerable people”.