Google to clamp down on online financial scams in Britain

FILE PHOTO: Google logo is seen on on the company's European headquarters in Dublin
FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is seen on on the company's European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, February 27, 2021. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD

June 30, 2021

(Reuters) -Google will clamp down on financial fraud on its platform in Britain, saying on Wednesday that all financial services will need to be verified by the regulator before they can advertise.

Britain’s financial watchdog issued 1,200 consumer warnings last year about scams advertised via social media platforms by fake companies, double the number in 2019.

Google, which is part of U.S. tech giant Alphabet Inc, said in a blog post it will begin enforcing the new policy, which follows calls from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to vet paid promotions, from Sept. 6.

“While this is an important step from Google we think a permanent and consistent solution requires legislation,” an FCA spokesperson said in emailed statement.

The regulator will assess the outcome of Google’s decision once the changes take effect, the spokesperson added.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has been lobbying the government to introduce a legal requirement for internet giants to take down financial fraud websites, the Sunday Times reported in March.

(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; Additonal reporting by Aakriti Bhalla and Radhika Anilkumar; Editing by Jane Wardell and Alexander Smith)