Facebook and WhatsApp join UK anti-scam scheme as fake news surges at alarming rate – how to stay safe

FACEBOOK, Instagram and WhatsApp have joined a UK initiative to stop scammers from scamming users out of their money.

Meta, the apps’ parent company, confirmed on Tuesday that it has signed up with Stop Scams UK, an industry-led group of companies working together to put a stop to cybercrime.

Facebook and WhatsApp's parent company, Meta, has joined Stop Scams UK


Facebook and WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta, has joined Stop Scams UKPhoto credit: Getty

The tech company joins as a member of the organization BT, Google, Microsoft and a number of banking giants including Barclays and HSBC.

Stop Scams UK said the addition of Meta was a “watershed moment” in its work to “stop scams at the source”.

The group found that most scams involve criminals posing as members of the banking, technology and telecoms sectors in order to scam their victims.

Stop Scams UK uses the collaboration between its members to try and find solutions to scams and scams spreading on their platforms or by impersonating their company.

It said that scams are currently increasing at an alarming rate.

Incidents where victims were manipulated into making payments to criminals have reportedly increased by 60 percent in the first six months of 2021 compared to a year earlier.

Ruth Evans, Chair of Stop Scams UK, said: “This is a game changer for us and will bring new scope and opportunity to our work to stop scams at source.

“The growth of our members in the technology sector has changed the game and enhanced our ability to help our members stop fraud at source and limit the harm to consumers.

“The collective firepower and capability of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook will have a transformative impact on Stop Scams UK’s ability to keep people safe.

“I hope other companies in the technology sector will follow Meta’s lead and join Microsoft and Google to work with our members, including the UK’s leading banks and telecoms, to help businesses work together to protect consumers from fraud.” “

Stop Scams UK members share data and insights to protect customers and users.

Online fraud attacks are typically carried out through unsolicited emails, text messages, and phone calls.

They are also executed through fake ads on websites and social media.

Typically, scams take the form of so-called phishing attacks, which lure victims to a website that appears to be operated by a trustworthy entity, such as B. a bank, a social media platform or another service.

However, the website is fake with fake content that aims to convince a victim to enter sensitive information like their online banking credentials.

On the phone, phishing attackers pose as employees of a trustworthy agency and urge the target person to reveal their data.

Steve Hatch, Vice President of Meta Northern Europe, said: “Scammers use multiple methods online and offline to prey on people, including fake phone calls and text messages, phishing emails and deceptive ads.

“We do not want any fraudulent activity on our platforms and are dedicating significant resources to address this industry-wide issue.”

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How to protect yourself from scammers

In January, a UK scambuster highlighted the most common signs you’re being targeted by an online scammer.

Speaking to The Sun, James Walker revealed three giveaways that the WhatsApp message, email or online ad you’re investigating is fake.

Interacting with them could give crooks access to your bank account, said Walker, who is CEO of the anti-fraud group Correct.

“Keep an eye out for text messages that suddenly ask you to pay for something,” he said.

“This is especially true if you’re being asked to pay for something you don’t recognise, e.g. B. a package that you were not expecting or a Covid vaccine that you did not book.”

Scammers usually like to add a sense of urgency to their messages to get people to pay before they realize they’re being scammed — another telltale sign to watch for, James said.

His second tip concerns email.

“If you receive a suspicious email with a link, hover over a link before clicking to see where it leads,” he said.

For example, if the sender claims to be from your bank, but the link doesn’t go to your bank’s website, you should be careful.

It’s also worth checking for misspellings in the email address to determine if the sender is legitimate, James added.

“Scams are becoming more sophisticated,” James told The Sun.

“They are on par with any other crime in the UK in terms of reporting to police, but prosecutions remain in the single digits as fraudsters are difficult to convict.”

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Fry Electronics Team

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