Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Government alone cannot tackle the rise in fraud as three new industry charters were unveiled with the aim of strengthening security.
Fraud offences have risen by 24% during the pandemic, according to the Home Office and the charters will see banks, accountancy firms and telecommunications businesses commit to working with the Government to stem the tide.
Plans include a pilot scheme to bring in point of sale bank authorisations for mobile phone contracts; a cross sector plan to protect customers who fall prey to a data breach; and a crackdown on fake text messages that appear to be from legitimate companies.
The Joint Fraud Taskforce, a body including members from Government, the private sector, law enforcement and victims’ groups, is also being re-launched under the leadership of Security Minister Damien Hinds and will meet for the first time on Thursday.
Ms Patel said: “I am deeply concerned about the devastating impact fraud can have on victims and I will not tolerate criminals lining their pockets at the expense of law-abiding citizens.
“Government alone cannot fix this which is why The Joint Fraud Taskforce will bring together key business leaders to work in partnership to protect the public and tackle this cowardly crime.”
All the major high street banks have signed the charter for the sector, which includes commitments to crack down on the movement of stolen money, and to give consistent advice to consumers about where to get support if they fall victim to fraud.
David Postings, chief executive of UK Finance said: “Banks are fighting fraud on every front, but the sector can’t stop all fraud on its own. Only by working together with other key industries and government can we combine our powers to make the UK a safe place to do business.”
The main mobile firms – BT EE, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Media O2 and Vodafone – are signatories of the telecoms charter, and 12 leading accountancy bodies have signed up for their sector.
Members of the public are encouraged to forward suspicious text messages to 7726, and if they are victim to a scam to report it to Action Fraud.