Online Safety Bill Campaign

PIMFA and our partners has one aim: to convince Government it was a mistake to exclude financial harms from its draft Online Safety Bill, and to persuade ministers to change their minds for greater consumer protection and industry trust.

Background & objective

In December 2020, the Government published a White Paper outlining its proposed Online Safety Bill. But the White Paper omitted financial harms from the draft bill. In January 2021, PIMFA published its Future of Advice policy paper, which outlined 12 proposals to improve consumers overall experience of financial advice. One proposal was the eradication of financial harm to consumers from online scams – which also often led to higher claims on the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and therefore higher levies, thus impacting PIMFA’s members. We concluded the best way to achieve the dual goals of fewer claims on the FSCS and improved consumer protection and experience, was through legislation that protects consumers from online scams/fraud, so we focused on the Online Safety Bill.

PIMFA immediately contacted other stakeholders including Which?, UK Finance, The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and many others, forming a campaign group of charities, consumer groups and trade associations for the first time, with one goal: to ensure the Government included financial harms in the Online Safety Bill.

Today that campaign group is comprised of 17 bodies that have worked together for the past year making the case for financial harm to be included in the Bill through press releases, research, lobbying efforts, giving evidence to Parliamentary select committees and social media. The campaign led to the launch of two national newspaper campaigns (The Daily Mali and Mail on Sunday) backing our calls for financial harm to be included in the Online Safety Bill. The campaign achieved a U-turn from the Government ahead of the Queen’s Speech in May 2021, with fraudulent user generated content included within scope of the Bill, and as of 5 February fraud and financial crime are now included within the scope of the Bill.

PIMFA and our partners had one aim: to convince Government it was a mistake to exclude financial harms from its draft Online Safety Bill, and to persuade ministers to change their minds for greater consumer protection and industry trust. A year later we are on the cusp of achieving that.

Statements put out by Online Safety Bill Coalition

Organisations represented by the statements

Press Coverage

Below is a very small selection of stories that in some way mention the coalition’s campaign to include financial harm within the scope of the Online Safety Bill:

Daily Mail/Thisismoney.co.uk

We launch campaign to fight growing scourge of online financial fraud in Britain: Stop the online SCAMMERS
Ministers fall at first fence in war on scams: No laws on internet fraud included in new Online Safety Bill
Don’t get sucked in by the savings scammers: Investment fraud is the most costly con of all, with victims losing £535m in just one year. Now learn the telltale signs to watch out for in the third part of the series that could save you a fortune

Daily Telegraph

MPs accuse Google of ‘immorally’ profiting from pension scam adverts
Consumers demand regulation of online adverts as Covid fraudsters run riot
Millions of us have been scammed, so why has anti-fraud spending been cut 99pc?

Mail on Sunday/Thisismoney.co.uk

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: We want a new police unit to eradicate financial locusts causing us so much devastation
I Googled ‘how to invest’ – only to be besieged by fraudsters in minutes: Our harrowing tale shows search giant is still the scammers’ best friend

The Guardian
UK ministers urged to make tech giants responsible for scams
More than £2.3bn lost in a year as scams surge during pandemic

Daily Mirror
Martin Lewis and Which? join forces urging Government to get tough on web scams
Invasion of the online clones: how ruthless fraudsters use details of respected firms to target savers