UK banks demand tech giants, telcos reimburse online fraud victims


UK banks have urged Big Tech and telecommunications firms to take responsibility for their contribution to the rise of online fraud and voluntarily reimburse victims, The Telegraph has reported.

Citing the ‘polluter pays’ principle, a widely recognised concept where those that generate pollution should cover the cost of controlling the risk and the human impact, TSB, Barclays, Santander, and Lloyds have called out Facebook, Instagram, Google, and telecom operators for not paying anything towards losses.

With £462 million being returned in 2020 and 2021 to financial crime victims when the funds cannot be recovered, The Telegraph references Barclays data that points out that over 75% of scams take place on social media, auction sites or dating apps, reiterating that it is not only banks that must be held accountable.

Barclays’ head of economic crime Sian McIntyre wrote for The Telegraph, stating: “We would like to see a cross-sector pot funded by a polluter pays principle. Those companies that enable scams on their platforms or services should be putting money into that pot.”

Paul Davis, director of fraud at TSB, also mentioned that “partial or total” compensation from technology firms was “long overdue.” “Authorised fraud doesn’t start and end with banks, other sectors play a role in facilitating it. The steps some tech giants have taken to help prevent scams are welcome, but they also need to help with the cost.”

Liz Ziegler, financial crime director at Lloyds, added that big tech companies should evaluate with the wider “industry and government whether they have a role to play in reimbursement.”

Further, Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management at Santander believes that it will not be “straightforward to get all stakeholders to share their scams data and work out a reimbursement model, but the fight against fraud won’t be able to move forward without it.”


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