On 2 February 2022, the House of Commons’ Treasury Committee (Committee) published a report on economic crime.
The report examines the following:
- The scale of economic crime and the Government’s Economic Crime Plan, which was launched in July 2019. Data from the Office for National Statistics for the year ending June 2021 suggests there was a 43% increase in fraud and computer misuse crimes compared to 2019. The Economic Crime Plan should be adapted as necessary and renewed for a further three years.
- The problem of online platforms being used to promote fraud and what is being done about it. The Committee suggests that the Government should include measures to address fraud via online advertising in the Online Safety Bill, in the interests of preventing further harm to customers being offered fraudulent financial products
- The problem of authorised push payment (APP) fraud and what the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) is doing about it. In the first half of 2021, £355.3 million was lost to APP scams. This was an increase of 71% compared to the same period in 2020. The PSR thinks it should be mandatory for payment service providers to reimburse victims of APP fraud.
- The fraud and economic crime issues that have arisen from the growth in crypto-currency and crypto-assets as well as money laundering and anti-money laundering regulations.
- How companies may be used for economic crime, and the steps that might be taken to reform Companies House and its operations to help tackle economic crime. The Government should look at how to bring in as many reforms as it can, as soon as possible. The Committee also advocates higher company formation fees in order to prevent fraudsters from hiding their identities behind UK businesses to launder money and conduct crime, and pushes for the Government to set out the legislation it is currently working on which could be included in an Economic Crime Bill.