Google, Amazon, Facebook and eBay have called for clarification of measures to prevent advertising fraud and scams

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The Google representative said that “scams and fraud are organized crime, just like identity theft or hacking.” Photo: AP

British Treasury toast tech giants Google (GOOGL), eBay (EBAY), Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN) on what they do to fight economic crime, prevent fraud and protect consumers on their platforms

Treasury committee chairman Mel Stride wrote to the companies following an evidence hearing last month in an economic crime investigation.

“There has been a huge increase in online crime and, as a committee, we want to better understand what is needed to ensure that technology platforms are safe spaces for people to exploit and are not victimized. scams or frauds, ”he said. .

“Despite the efforts already made by technology platforms such as Google, eBay, Facebook and Amazon, I want them to explain in more detail what they are doing to protect their users from online fraud and ad scams, and how they tackle issues such as promoting tax evasion schemes online.

The committee is interested in knowing the details of the corporate online fraud steering group and meetings with government departments on economic crime. He also wants to know how companies compensate their customers who are victims of financial fraud.

He asked all companies what policies they have in terms of promoting tax avoidance and fraud on their platform.

Some of the questions relate to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The committee asked each company how much the FCA has paid them over the past three years to warn their users about unauthorized ads, and whether other public sector organizations have paid them for ads related to financial crime.

Stride’s letters requested a response by October 18.

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At last month’s hearing, Amanda Storey, director of trust and security at Google, said that “scams and fraud are organized crime, just like identity theft or hacking.”

She said the company “is evolving its policies over many years to tackle financial services advertising issues.”

“Any advertiser wishing to target a UK user with a financial services ad must be cleared by the FCA and must pass identity checks before they can run that ad.”

At the same hearing, Gaon Hart, UK public policy and customer confidence manager at Amazon, told the committee that Amazon has “three main types of scams.”

“You talk about the customer service scams that we see, where someone pretends to be from Amazon or some other organization, and sits there and tries to access someone’s details.”

He said that there are also recruitment scams and retail frauds, “which are scams on the site by sellers or buyers who do not ship the goods or, failing that, do not pay for the goods, essentially”.

Earlier this year, the UK introduced a digital markets unit to enforce a new code governing the behavior of tech giants that currently dominate the market.

The unit became operational in April, but it will only get the powers it needs if MPs vote to grant them, and that could take until 2022.

Back in May, a coalition of organizations urged the UK government to use the Online Safety Bill to protect people from an “avalanche” of online scams.

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