TSB has issued a warning to users of Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook over the huge number of scams coming through the social platforms.
The bank said that a significant proportion of the social media scams cases being reported are being shared via one of the three apps and urged social media companies to ‘urgently clean up their platforms’ to protect innocent users.
TSB’s own internal data indicates that around 80% of fraud cases within the three biggest fraud categories are coming through these companies, which are all owned by Meta, as HullLive reports.
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Purchase, impersonation and investment fraud are the top fraud categories by case load at TSB. The bank analysed its customer fraud data from January 2021 to December 2022.
The fraud department is now urging people who use any of the three platforms to watch out for unsolicited messages claiming to be from family or close friends. They advise contacting the person directly before ever sending a payment.
Experts are also urging potential investors to stick to recognised investment platforms and to steer clear of social media ‘get rich quick’ schemes. TSB launched its own fraud refund guarantee in 2019 and it said 97% of fraud cases are reimbursed through this initiative.
The guarantee covers customers who are innocent victims of fraud on their TSB account. However, customers are not reimbursed if, for example, they are found to have been involved in the fraud themselves or deemed to have abused the guarantee.
Paul Davis, director of fraud prevention, TSB, said: “Social media companies must urgently clean up their platforms to protect the countless innocent people who use their services every day.
“In the meantime, we are urging the public to remain cautious to potential scam content – and to spread the word to help protect those around you. It’s high time that social media and telephone companies took financial liability for the rising levels of fraud taking place on their platforms.
“Our fraud refund guarantee continues to play a vital, often life-changing role in returning money to innocent victims of fraud, who fall foul due to vulnerabilities in other sectors.”
Meta said it is working with Stop Scams UK to help victims and remove scams at the source. It recently launched Stop. Think. Call., a scam awareness campaign by WhatsApp and the National Trading Standards’ Friends Against Scams campaign, with support from Citizens Advice.
It recently rolled out a new process which requires financial services advertisers targeting users in the UK to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
A Meta spokesperson said: “This is an industry-wide issue and scammers are using increasingly sophisticated methods to defraud people in a range of ways including email, SMS and offline.
“We don’t want anyone to fall victim to these criminals which is why our platforms have systems to block scams, financial services advertisers now have to be FCA authorised and we run consumer awareness campaigns on how to spot fraudulent behaviour.
“People can also report this content in a few simple clicks and we work with the police to support their investigations.”
Earlier this week, the Government unveiled a new fraud strategy, which will ban cold calls on financial products, like those relating to insurance or sham cryptocurrency schemes. It also plans to work with Ofcom, using new technology to further clamp down on number ‘spoofing’, which sees fraudsters impersonating legitimate UK phone numbers.
Under the plans, banks will also be allowed to delay payments from being processed for longer to allow for suspect payments to be investigated. The Government said it will also ban other devices or methods commonly harnessed by scammers to reach thousands of people at once, such as so-called ‘sim farms’.
Rocio Concha, from Which?, said: “The Online Safety Bill has been going through Parliament for more than a year and progress has been much too slow, with people still being scammed every day.”
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