“Obvious mistrust” of online financial services advertising

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that of the insurer Fraud report – released today (August 24) – found that consumers have “low confidence” in the Internet as a tool to purchase financial services.

The report also found that 56% of people do not believe that the authenticity of the product, service or financial provider being advertised is verified by search engines.

Of these, Aviva found a difference in trust by age, with only 29% of those over 55 trusting search engine results compared to 59% of those aged 16 to 24.

The company also said the Covid-19 pandemic had “accelerated the need for action” as 50% of people admitted to using the internet more frequently to search for products and services in the past year than before. .

“The scale of fraud has accelerated with the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in a deluge of opportunities for fraudsters over the past year,” Aviva said as research revealed that 42% of people have been targeted by a Covid-19 scam.

This is a 91% increase over last year in the number of people who reported receiving emails, texts, phone calls and other communications mentioning the coronavirus, and who were suspected of being a financial scam.

The report also found that most people (87%) think the government should legislate to ensure that search engines and social media sites don’t mislead consumers or promote financial scams. and 85% believe that search engines should be responsible for the advertising content on their platforms so that it is not misleading.

Aviva also called on the government to more specifically include financial scams within the scope of the online security bill.

It comes after the online security bill was given the green light in May, with legislation aimed at boosting internet savings initially leaving economic damage aside.

However, in a statement accompanying a bill on May 13, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Oliver Dowden said user-generated fraud would be built into the regulatory framework.

But Aviva’s director of fraud prevention Rob Lee said there is a “clear distrust” of online financial services advertisements, but noted that there was no responsibility for technology companies to verify the legitimacy of companies that pay them to publish advertisements on their platforms.

He said this could potentially leave “millions of internet users exposed to unscrupulous advertisements.”

“We believe the Online Security Bill provides an opportunity to protect consumers of financial services at every stage of their online journey. We welcome the recent inclusion of user-generated fraud – such as the one promoted on social media sites – as part of the regulatory framework. We support the financial services industry by calling for legislation to include financial scams promoted by paid ads, ”he said.

Lee added, “The challenges posed by the foreclosure conditions have changed the minds of millions of people, opening the door for more people to purchase financial products and services online. While this does provide opportunities for facilitating the purchase of products, it also opens the door to fraudsters seeking to prey on vulnerable people.

It is clear that we are a long way from the government’s commitment to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. Today’s online environment, combined with tough economic conditions and increased financial pressure on consumers, creates the perfect storm for fraudsters to exploit the most vulnerable.

“The government must act quickly to protect more consumers from online fraud, by ensuring that financial scams are included in the online safety bill.”


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