The U.K. plans to outlaw “cold calls” offering insurance and crypto to curb fraud. The National Crime Agency says fraud costs the country over £7b ($8.7b) annually.
U.K. government stepping in to curb fraud
To better its moves towards intelligence-led enforcement, the U.K. government has launched a new fraud strategy and promised 400 new employees to implement it.
They will now stop criminals from “spoofing” or falsifying their phone numbers by routing them through U.K.’s channels. To do this, the government will collaborate with the telecommunications regulator, the Office of Communications, often known as Ofcom, to implement new anti-spoofing equipment.
In a statement, the U.K. Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said con artists “ruin lives, cheating people in the most despicable ways to line their pockets.” When questioned, he vowed to pursue the crypto scammers “wherever they may be hiding”.
The U.K. government has also pledged to stop “SIM farms”. These are centers that fraudsters use to contact many people simultaneously.
“We will also examine the prevalence of mass-texting services to ensure that such sophisticated tools don’t fall into the wrong hands.”
.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Reports indicate that one in fifteen Britons has been the victim of wire fraud in recent years. Based on this, the government intends to adopt regulations that oblige financial institutions to compensate victims of sanctioned fraud.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Observer issued a study on Jan.29 claiming that criminal organizations use the U.K. as a base because of its “lenient regulations.”
To register a business in the U.K. can be as low as 12 GBP, or $14.85. Moreover, no identification is needed. It is a loophole that scammers have been exploiting.
FCA maintains a tough stance on crypto-related businesses
There have been efforts by the British government to restrict crypto businesses. Interested companies must first register with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as stipulated in the Financial Services and Markets Act.
However, since the FCA is strict on approving crypto organizations, many businesses operate under the radar. The regulator is currently trying to strike a compromise between protecting investors’ interests and encouraging creative problem-solving.