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Policy Director at Stop Scams UK: Delays to the UK's Online Safety Bill has led to "uncertainty"

According to the Director of Policy at Stop Scams UK, delays to the UK's Online Safety Bill, which aims to shield victims from "harmful scam advertisements" on online platforms, have led to "uncertainty."

Anti-fraud organization Stop Scams UK's Simon Miller, Director of Police and Communications, has issued a dire warning that the unpredictability is "bad for business and bad for consumers."

In an interview with the Financial Times, he claimed that scammers would be the only ones to profit from the uncertainty.

The UK will become the "safest place in the world to be online while defending free expression," according to the Online Safety Bill, which was first released in draft form in May 2021.

Businesses that host user-generated content will be subject to new regulations under the Bill, and those that do not comply risk being penalized up to 10% of their annual revenues or being blocked.

All platforms covered by the law will be obligated to combat and remove online content that promotes child sexual exploitation, abuse, and terrorism.

In order to combat "harmful scam advertisements," which the UK Government claims have "devastating effects" on scam victims, some of the largest providers will also be required to put in place "proportionate systems and processes" to prevent fraudulent advertisements from being hosted on their platforms.

The debate on the bill, which was originally scheduled to take place in Parliament in July, has been postponed until at least early September, when lawmakers return from their summer recess.

Katy Worobec, Managing Director for Economic Crime at UK Finance, warned that we need to "keep a weather eye on [the bill]" to make sure it "doesn’t get weakened in any shape of form" in an interview with the Financial Times as part of its Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign.

According to a recent report by UK Finance, fraud scam losses reached £1.3 billion (€1.5 billion) last year, with "authorised push payment" (APP) fraud losses skyrocketing by 40%, impersonation scam losses increasing by 15% to £96.6 million (€114 million), and investment scam losses rising by nearly 60% to £171.7 million (€202 million).

Mr. Miller warned that con artists "continue to ruthlessly exploit the cost of living crisis and the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine" as prices rise and inflation soars to 9.4 percent.



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