Government fraud campaign plan sparks division among banks

Plans for a brand new authorities data marketing campaign to deal with the explosion in on-line fraud have sparked divisions amongst main banks over considerations about its value and doubtlessly conflicting public messages.

Sky News has learnt that the Home Office has in latest weeks been in discussions with main lenders together with Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Santander UK, in addition to the {industry} lobbying group UK Finance, about an initiative that may be part of roughly a dozen current fraud campaigns.

The Home Office is claimed to have earmarked a multimillions pound finances for the drive, which is anticipated to launch within the coming months and embrace tv commercials.

City sources stated that quite a few banks had been requested to signal non-disclosure agreements by Home Office officers in search of to temporary them on the content material of the taxpayer-funded push.

Its unveiling, which can observe a dedication made by Suella Braverman, the then residence secretary, final yr, is claimed by Whitehall insiders to have gained assist from {industry}, legislation enforcement officers and throughout authorities.

However, a number of financial institution executives stated they have been involved that the initiative can be a waste of public cash given the prominence of the industry-funded “Take Five To Stop Fraud” marketing campaign.

They added that the brand new promoting might danger distracting shoppers from the “clear warning signs” outlined within the Take Five scheme.

Figures revealed by UK Finance final yr steered that greater than £1.2bn was misplaced by clients of its members to monetary fraud in 2022.

“We are taking robust action to protect the public from fraud, with offending falling by 13% compared to June 2022,” a Home Office spokesman advised Sky News.

“Since the rollout of our fraud strategy in May we have delivered the world’s first online fraud charter with some of the world’s biggest tech companies, created a national fraud squad and rolled-out enhanced support available to victims across England and Wales.

“As pledged in our fraud technique, we’ll shortly launch a nationwide public consciousness marketing campaign, backed by legislation enforcement and a wealth of companions, to make it simpler for folks to identify fraud and take motion to keep away from changing into a sufferer.”

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A UK Finance spokesperson stated: “Take Five to Stop Fraud is a long-established and effective consumer awareness campaign to help people protect themselves against fraud.

“Our latest information exhibits that elevated client consciousness has helped to scale back fraud corresponding to impersonation scams.

“We see Take Five as complementary to the Home Office’s forthcoming campaign, and will continue our work alongside others in the fight against fraud.”