FCA reports actions against fraudulent financial promotions
The Financial Conduct Authority has released data that shows it changed or withdrew 4,151 financial promotions between July and September.
According to the FCA, this is the highest level since it began publishing the data.
Consumer credit, investments and banking are the sectors with the highest rate of repair or removal of ads.
These represent 95% of AFD’s interventions with approved companies.
The FCA pointed out that it had seen several cases involving unauthorized companies and individuals seeking to profit from the rising cost of living.
During the period, the FCA issued 303 warnings about unauthorized companies and individuals, more than 20% of which related to clone scams.
The data also detailed various measures taken by the watchdog to curb deceptive and unfair behavior by companies as well as to combat scammers.
For example, the FCA’s intervention resulted in the modification or removal of 66 company Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) promotions on various social media platforms.
He said the ads did not give fair or significant risk warnings and were misleading about charges.
Although the FCA does not yet regulate BNPL, it warned BNPL companies against misleading promotions earlier this year.
The FCA also said it had taken steps to write to consumers that it had discovered that it had been included in a mailing list used by scammers to carry out “loan fee” or “fee advances”.
With this type of scam becoming more common as the cost of living rises, the FCA relaunched its ScamSmart campaign around loan fee fraud over the summer.
This is to help educate borrowers who may find themselves in vulnerable circumstances.
FCA Executive Director for Enforcement and Market Surveillance, Mark Steward, said: “As consumers feel the financial strain, they could be tempted into high-risk, unregulated products and services or they could become targets for scammers who take advantage of moments of vulnerability.
“As a result, we are doing even more to combat false claims in advertisements, issue prompt warnings to consumers, and we continue to engage with the biggest technology and social media platforms, as they also play an important role in protecting consumers from harm online.
“That’s why amendments to the Online Safety Bill to cover paid online advertising for financial services are badly needed at this time.”