Amongst a range of measures intended to reduce fraud, the Government says it will extend the ban on cold calls to cover all financial and investment products.
Under the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018, cold calls are already banned from personal injury firms and pension providers (unless the consumer has explicitly agreed to be contacted). However, the Government says that it will consult on a wider ban on cold calls by the summer, with implementation to follow as soon as possible. This means that the public will know that cold calls about financial products are a scam and should have the confidence to hang up should they receive one of these calls.
A cold call is defined in the Government’s Policy Paper as “Making an unsolicited call to sell a product – in some cases these are legal, in others they are not (such as when making a call to someone registered with the Telephone Preference Service or when selling certain products like pensions or injury claims services).”
Other measures included in the Policy Paper are that the Government will:
- establish a new national fraud squad with over 400 new posts and make fraud a priority for the police;
- deploy the UK intelligence community and lead a new global partnership to relentlessly pursue fraudsters wherever they are in the world;
- put more fraudsters behind bars through better investigation and prosecution processes for fraud and digital offences;
- ban SIM farms which are used by criminals to send thousands of scam texts at once;
- stop fraudsters from being able to send mass text messages by requiring mass texting services to be registered, subject to a rapid review;
- Replace Action Fraud with a state-of-the-art system for victims to report fraud and cyber crimes to the police;
- stop people from hiding behind fake companies and create new powers to take down fraudulent websites;
- work with industry to make sure that intelligence is shared quickly with each other and law enforcement;
- change the law so that more victims of fraud will get their money back;
- overhaul and streamline fraud communications so that people know how to protect themselves from fraud and how to report it;
- make the tech sector put in place extra protections for their customers and introduce tough penalties for those who do not; and
- shine a light on which platforms are the safest, making sure that companies are properly incentivised to combat fraud.
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