/ Scams

Dear Nadine, please protect us from online scams

A digital van displaying our call to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries drives around Westminster

Paid-for advertising is one of the most popular ways fraudsters target their victims. If the UK is to be the safest place to be online, the Online Safety Bill must include paid-for scam ads.

This week we’re calling on Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to ensure that protections against scam ads are featured in the Online Safety Bill.

Fraudsters are continuing to buy space on online platforms to scam us through fake ads and fraudulent websites. According to Which? research in 2020, nearly 1 in 10 of us in the UK have been scammed by fake ads on social media or a search engine. 

These scams cause both financial and emotional damage. We have heard from people whose confidence and trust in others has been shaken to its core. 

One woman who lost £30,000 to an investment scam featured on Google told us how she continues to feel shame and despair months later. “It breaks you as a person,” she said.  

The problem is growing as fraudsters get smarter. Fraudsters know how to make fake or fraudulent content appear legitimate, including by drawing people in using fake celebrity endorsements.

Make tech giants take responsibility

People should be able to go online without fear of being scammed. Yet tech giants and social media companies are continuing to profit from the paid for scam ads that scanners are placing on their sites.

This is wrong. These companies must be made to do more to stop online scams. They must be made legally responsible for preventing this type of content from being posted to their sites in the first place.  

Since paid for scam ad ads are one of the most common causes of online scams, paid for advertising must be included in the Online Safety Bill so we can tackle this injustice now.

Help us send a message to Nadine

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is about to make a huge decision on whether or not to include paid for advertising in the Online Safety Bill. We want you to help to make our call stronger.

If you agree that paid for advertising must be included in the Online Safety Bill, please show your support by sending a message via Twitter:

I agree with @WhichUK – if @nadinedorries wants to #StopOnlineScams then tech giants must be made responsible for preventing scam ads from appearing on their sites. To protect us all, online scam ads must be part of the Online Safety Bill.

Share with others

Why do you feel paid-for scam ads should be included in the Online Safety Bill? What would you say to others to get them on board?  

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

May Wallace says:
3 March 2022

Scammers are criminals causing untold distress on vulnerable people. Why should they be allowed to continue? Everything possible should be done to stop them. Wither it’s by phone or internet they should all be held accountable

SD says:
4 March 2022

It’s a no-brainer to stop criminals operating in all areas and on-line (where one can’t see the product) is the most important. Ad scams should definitely be added to any legislation aimed to stop criminal activity and the punishment should be severe.

Christina Aitken says:
4 March 2022

I agree that everyone should be able to go online and choose a product or company and feel safe there should be a department that protects this just like Trading Standards does offline. Many older people do not understand totally what goes on online, even if they manage to use it and trust what is said on it and these are the people who generally get hacked or scammed. I do report anything I see, but at 62, even I get conned sometimes, and these people must be found and punished and made to pay financially which would pay for the department I suggest. We need to be able to shop online just like shopping on the high street and feel safe.

Sandra Pack says:
4 March 2022

Please take the scammers of its in safe and it is not fair on any of us . Thank you.

Dia says:
6 March 2022

Just getting buy is difficult enough without being scammed as well

Anne McCabe says:
6 March 2022

Scammers need to be stopped. They make life a misery and Nadine Dories has a duty of care to the public in her position. Social media giants think of the money and attention only and don’t care the harm they do

Anthony Brown says:
6 March 2022

On line is an unsafe environment you only have to google search for a basic service like passport or driving test and you see services which charge extra fees for basic government services right at the top of the search like they are the official service it should not be like this on line constantly having to be wary Google should be ashamed of promoting these scams and be accountable.

A Kemp says:
7 March 2022

My 40 year old daughter with learning difficulties is not capable of discerning scam emails from genuine friends’ emails, or from people pretending to be contacting her from her bank or other authorities. It is all very confusing for her.

Thank you for that comment, A Kemp.

We really must protect people such as your daughter from attack by internet criminals since they are not able to protect themselves. There is a strong risk that vulnerable people are indeed specifically targeted by scammers and other on-line exploiters. On-line harm has no boundaries.

Geoff Wells says:
7 March 2022

Absolutely fed up with calls which are obviously originated abroad, but displaying a UK telephone number. Equally annoyed with either scam calls or sales calls purporting to be (typically) from our “local energy advisor”.

Michael Owen says:
8 March 2022

Scams are getting so sophisticated its easy to see how ANYONE can be taken in and we all need protection.

Vicki Jones says:
9 March 2022

I am pleased to hear that scam ads are now included in the Online Safety Bill, but my understanding at present is that this may not include third party sites. I believe it is important that all scam ads are included.
Scammers are increasingly clever and can trick even the most careful of people, but those with learning disabilities or the elderly who are not so confident with online contact, are especially vulnerable.
I agree with a previous comment, we ALL need protection.
The safeguards and laws must keep pace with technology so the scammers (aka thieves) can be brought to account.

Theresa Holcroft says:
13 March 2022

I am definitely behind the Online Safety Bill, as last year I was scammed by a Bitcoin txt and some face book adds, I ordered things for Christmas presents from the Face Book adds and nothing came. I had trouble getting my money back for some of them as I had to go to my bank and show them what I had ordered and what I received, or not! It was embarrassing and humiliating to think that I had got scammed through an advert that I thought would be safe, as one of the orders were from a so called reputable company but the add was fraudulent and I didn’t see it at the time. so I think the Apps that we use should be held accountable for not checking these adds in the first place.

Miss G says:
4 May 2022

After being scammed by crooks advertising Amazon share investments on MSN I have had to contact MSN (very difficult) to make them aware of two other fake Amazon share adverts. Why are MSN Aiding and Abetting criminals by allowing these ads to be promoted on their platform?