CHOICE has joined over 20 consumer groups from 19 countries in a joint international statement calling on governments to require social media and other tech companies to implement stronger protections against the growing risks of online scams.
The global statement on stopping online scams highlights the enormous losses to scams globally and the role that technology companies play in enabling these scams.
"Tech giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Google are failing to prevent scammers from using their platforms to target victims, causing enormous amounts of harm to consumers globally. In Australia, losses reported to Scamwatch from scams on social media have increased to over $66 million in 2023, an increase of more than 40% on the same time period in 2022," says CHOICE Senior Campaigns and Policy Adviser, Alex Soderlund.
"These tech companies have the resources and technology to do more to protect everyone from scammers, but they won't implement effective protections until the law requires it. International consumer groups are united in calling for governments across the world to ensure there are significant penalties if these technology giants continue to let scams run rampant on their platforms," says Soderlund.
The global statement comes as new nationally representative data from CHOICE found 9 out of 10 Australians support strong penalties for digital platforms who fail to detect and prevent scams. The research also found:
- 88% of Australians agree that digital platforms will not protect people from scams unless they are required to do so by law
- 88% of Australians agree that digital platforms currently don't do enough to protect people from scams
"Our research shows that an overwhelming majority of people would like to see the Australian government require digital platforms to protect people from online scams. The UK has already passed laws requiring technology platforms to prevent fraudulent scam ads, and Australians are currently missing out on these protections. We're looking forward to engaging with the Australian Government's recently announced consultation to make sure there are strong rules backed by significant penalties in Australia too," says Soderlund.
CHOICE Consumer Pulse September 2023 is based on an online survey designed and analysed by CHOICE. 1,035 Australian households responded to the survey with quotas applied to ensure coverage across all age groups, genders and locations in each state and territory across metropolitan and regional areas. The data was weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population based on the 2021 ABS Census data. Fieldwork was conducted from 29 August to 18 September 2023.
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