£80m will be lost to online fraud over 12 days of Christmas, says Labour | #datingscams | #russianliovescams | #lovescams

Nearly £80 million will be lost to online fraud and scams over the 12 days of Christmas, according to Labour.

Analysis by the party of national fraud and cyber crime statistics found that about £76 million could be lost over the 12-day festive period.

It comes as Labour criticised the delay in the parliamentary progress of the Online Safety Bill, accusing the Government of letting fraudsters and criminals off the hook.

The party pointed to analysis of police force data, which found that on average there were 312 incidents of online fraud or cyber crime per day in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 – with the amount lost to fraud equivalent to £6 million per day.

Labour said the original Online Safety Bill, which is still moving through Parliament after being hit by delays and amendments, included no reference to fraud or scams at all.

Overall, the proposed legislation aims to strengthen protections for children from harmful online content and curtail content promoting self-harm and hate speech online.

The current parliamentary session, which had been expected to run to May, is being extended to allow the Government to pass major pieces of legislation such as the Online Safety Bill.

Alex Davies-Jones, Labour’s shadow digital minister, said: “For too long this Government has let online fraudsters and criminals off while victims are let down.

“Despite being the single biggest crime in the UK, the Tory Government doesn’t take fraud seriously. Families already struggling to make ends meet are at risk from online fraud and cyber crimes this Christmas.

“Thanks to Labour, the Online Safety Bill will strengthen protections against scammers online, but the entire Bill is now at risk because ministers are bowing over to vested interests rather than standing up for consumers.”

A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “This Government is absolutely committed to cracking down on fraud and economic crime, spending an additional £400 million over the next three years to bolster law enforcement’s response.

“We have also removed more than 2.7 million online scams in the past year.

“Our world-leading Online Safety Bill, which the Government is committed to passing into law, will also place a duty on big tech firms to tackle a wide range of online fraud, including romance scams and fraudulent ads, to make sure the UK is the safest place in the world to be online.”

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