The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is beefing up its monitoring of financial scams on the internet by making use of a “dragnet” approach to capture suspicious advertising in the first 24 hours it is online.
The watchdog is also now updating its ‘warning list’ on a daily basis, which is designed to persuade consumers not to engage with those on the list.
Mark Steward, the FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight, gave an update on the regulator’s approach to online scams today during a speech.
He said: “We have ratcheted up our proactive monitoring of the internet with a dragnet approach with the express aim to capture suspicious advertising on the same day or 24 hours after it first appears.
“We have also accelerated our assessment and processing of the daily haul and we have moved from responses within days to being able to issue warnings on the same day, 24 hours after, which is now happening in most cases.”
He added: “We need a force field against unauthorised businesses marketing bogus investment activity. And those regulated firms who let down their guard, especially in assisting firms on our warning list, may well face action from us for doing so as well.”
In the last year, more than 700,000 online scams totalling 1.4 million URLs were removed from the internet, according to the National Cyber Security Centre.
Steward said scams were traditionally driven by boiler rooms that used cold calls to scam victims, however, the internet had enabled scammers to cast a wider net in which to capture victims.
But, he added: “This presents a unique opportunity because it means for the first time, we can detect scams at the same time as the scammers are luring in their victims.”