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Advertising: Misrepresentation

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL587, tabled on 20 January 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce further legislation to ban companies from profiting from other digital companies’ scam advertising or misleading investments.

Answered on

6 February 2020

The government takes fraud very seriously and continues to work closely with industry to close down the vulnerabilities that fraudsters exploit, and ensure members of the public have the information they need to spot a scam and stand up to fraudsters. We set up the Joint Fraud Taskforce to help build a collaborative law enforcement, government and industry response to tackling fraud. Scams can also be reported to Action Fraud and Citizens Advice.

Last year the government announced its intention to review how online advertising is regulated in the UK, looking at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in online advertising. The announcement can be found here:

Currently, advertising in the UK is overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry’s independent regulator, which for online advertising enforces the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) through a system of self-regulation. The CAP Code incorporates all relevant legislation and sets standards for accuracy and honesty to which advertisers must adhere. This system operates independently of government.

With specific regard to online scam advertising, the ASA works with online platforms to have problem advertising taken down, and with other partners, including National Trading Standards, to take action against those who are engaged in fraud. The ASA also works closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to regulate the advertising of legitimate financial products.