City of London Police calls for ‘wider reaching’ legislation on online pension scams

City of London Police has called for “wider reaching” legislation that would require a duty to protect savers and/or criminal liability for failure to prevent scams across all online and telecommunications enablers.

In a letter to the Work and Pensions Committee, City of London Police Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Analytics service delivery director, Chris Bell, said that the current scope of the Online Safety Bill leaves a gap in saver protection.

“While the current scope of the Online Safety Bill includes user-generated content it excludes advertisements and cloned websites,” he stated.

“This leaves a gap in the protection provided for the public. Ideally, there would be wider reaching legislation.”

Bell emphasised that Action Fraud and the police were committed to delivering the “best possible service” to fraud victims and recognised that this can only be achieved when working together with other organisations.

He noted that the force was working closely with The Pensions Regulator and the pensions industry to support providers with reporting fraud.

Other potential reforms that Bell mentioned were ‘Know Your Customer’ regulation around the use of telecommunications services and purchase of domains, particularly those that mimic company names, and more effective call blocking and other technical solutions to prevent misuse of telecoms services.

However, Bell warned that the primary challenge for Action Fraud and the police in addressing pension scams was the amount of demand compared to capacity.

“Crimes reported into Action Fraud have risen by 34 percent in the past four years, with the last financial year recording a 28 percent increase on the previous year,” he wrote.

“This rising volume of demand is against a backdrop of reduced resourcing across the whole of policing.

“We are working closely with the Home Office, and other agencies, and building greater capacity and capability across policing. This is welcomed.”

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