Online Fraud Charter: why the world needs it and what comes next

Ping Identity’s Paul Inglis discusses the importance of the Online Fraud Charter and taking the fight to online fraudsters
Paul Inglis
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Fraud is one of the most challenging issues facing the UK. Costing businesses, consumers, and the public sector billions of pounds yearly, it's an ongoing battle that’s only getting more difficult as we continue to digitally transform business and consumer life and grow our online identities. However, at the end of last year, the government announced a positive first step in protecting our online identities, the Online Fraud Charter.   

Published on November 30th, the Charter asks its signatories to adopt nine measures that will help combat online fraud. These measures range from detecting and blocking fraudulent online materials to having dedicated law enforcement liaisons. From the signing date, organisations have six months to deploy the adoption measures. And, thanks to the Charter involving many of the biggest names in tech, including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, it should result in significantly enhanced online consumer protection.

But it's important to remember that while the Online Fraud Charter represents a significant step, it is only the first. There is far more to do.  

What are the next steps?

Consumer expectations continually evolve. Today, consumers want two things above all else, convenience and security. Where, previously, one would be sacrificed for the other, luckily, that is no longer the case with many solutions in today's consumer and business landscape enhancing security and convenience.

When taking on online fraudsters, increasing authentication levels for personal or financial information access presents an obvious but effective solution. The easiest way to do this is with multi-factor authentication (MFA), which bolsters security by adding another layer to the authentication process. Whether a one-time pin (OTP) sent to your smartphone, or biometric scan, this additional layer is a no-brainer in the fight against fraud. If a fraudster has found/purchased your password or pin details on the Dark Web, MFA's additional layer makes hacking you infinitely harder. In fact, it's so effective that Microsoft claims MFA can prevent 99.9 percent of attacks on your account.

According to our research, 50% of people say that multi-factor authentication would make them feel more protected against fraud. This is something all companies providing online platforms should take note of to build greater trust with consumers. The same rule also applies to employees, who are often overlooked but a key component.

The AI-lephant in the room

Let's not forget how AI has quickly shifted the fraud playing field. 

AI's rise has significantly increased productivity and outcomes across various industries. Unfortunately, it's done the same for fraudsters. Thanks to AI chatbots, image generators, and so on, fraudsters have a range of hyper-effective tools at their disposal. We've already begun to witness the impact these tools have made for them. For example, Martin Lewis, one of the UK's leading money 'personas', found himself embroiled in a deepfake scam last year, resulting in him calling for government intervention to stop big tech from providing a platform for these scams.

Thankfully, the Online Fraud Charter indicates that big tech and the UK government are paying online fraud the consideration it deserves.  

Swift action is needed

Between cryptocurrencies trading on global markets, poor economic outlooks, and a record-breaking election year, 2024 is set to be a goldmine for fraudsters. Thus, governments, the tech and public sectors, and consumers must work together to limit the damage fraudsters can cause. With AI in play but fighting for both sides, this will be a critical year in the ongoing battle against online fraud.  

Written by
Paul Inglis
Written by
January 17, 2024