Online shopping fraud has increased by 55%
As 80% of frauds happen through social media platforms, dating websites and fake websites, which has accelerated with the advent of AI generative tools like ChatGPT, the UK government has signed an Online Fraud Charter with major tech companies who will take measures to address these in six months. Unsplash/Elisa Ventur

Britain is set to launch an Online Fraud Charter to tackle scams, fake adverts and romance fraud. The UK government has signed agreements with 11 tech giants for this purpose including Microsoft, Amazon, Instagram, Match Group, Meta, Google, eBay, LinkedIn etc.

This world's first Online Fraud Charter to combat online scams and frauds.

On Thursday, the UK Home Secretary James Cleverly hosted representatives from leading tech companies TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat etc to sign the pledge to combat internet fraud.

The Online Fraud Charter asks tech firms to introduce measures to protect users from unverified advertisers and fraudulent content amongst many other things. The charter also requires verification of peer-to-peer marketplaces on social media platforms in the UK along with verification in online dating services.

All the tech companies who have signed the charter have pledged to implement measures tackling online fraud within six months.

The UK government is following this with a crackdown on illegal adverts and promotions for age-limited products like gambling and alcohol which often affect children. All the steps in tackling online fraud will be published in detail by the Online Advertising Taskforce.

Announcing the Online Fraud Charter at Lancaster House, James Cleverly said: "The Online Fraud Charter is a big step forward in our efforts to protect the public from sophisticated, adaptable and highly organised criminals."

Cleverly further emphasised why this is crucial as such a measure has never been

done on this scale before and he is "pleased to see tech firms" working with the government to "turn the tide against fraudsters".

"Our work does not end here - I will continue to ensure we collaborate across government, and with law enforcement and the private sector, to ensure everyone in the UK is better protected from fraud", Cleverly added.

The tech giants have pledged to work closely with UK law enforcement to weed out suspicious activities and nab criminals. This includes creating direct routes to report suspicious activities.

Online Fraud Charter crucial to stop AI fraud

The Sunak government revealed that 40 per cent of all crimes in England and Wales constitute fraud, with 80 per cent of them being authorised pushed payment frauds coming from social media platforms or fake websites.

This comes at a time when cyber security experts have warned of generative AI tools like ChatGPT usage amongst cybercriminals for more sophisticated and convincing online frauds.

As ChatGPT completes a year, cybersecurity experts warn of more convincing scams using the text and image creation ability of generative AI tools. However, this has also bolstered cyber defences.

Earlier this month when the UK hosted the AI Safety Summit, several key players highlighted the changing nature of cyber attacks as AI is increasing the risk of online fraud. Global leaders agreed to work on this together to tackle AI fraud.

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) echoed the same sentiments when it said AI-generated disinformation could be a key threat in the future, especially during elections.

London Police Assistant Commissioner Nik Adams welcomed the Online Fraud Charter saying it will help tackle fraud "by establishing a network of major online companies to join with law enforcement in helping to protect the public from criminals who would exploit them".

The London Police is involved in handling major national fraud issues including online fraud.

"This charter has measures that will empower the public and increase their confidence in using online platforms, knowing that tech companies and policing are working to help keep them safe," Adams added.

TechUK deputy CEO Antony Walker who worked on the development of the Charter explained tech firms' commitment to it.

"The charter builds on measures that tech firms already have in place to defend against online fraud and will enable better and more consistent cooperation between the private sector, government and law enforcement," said Walker.

"The nature of online fraud is constantly evolving and tech companies are continually adapting and improving their approaches to combat this criminal activity," Walker further added.