UK-based retail bank TSB has called for Meta to do more to protect consumers from fraud originating on Meta platforms.
Robin Bulloch, chief executive of TSB, has written to Meta requesting that it introduce new tech interventions to protect UK households from increasing levels of fraud originating from the likes of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
TSB explained to Meta that scams originating from its platforms account for 80 per cent of the fraud it refunds within its three biggest fraud categories (purchase, investment and impersonation).
Projections from industry data and current fraud levels show that, without the tech interventions required to protect consumers from fraud, scams originating on Meta platforms could account for up to £250million of push payment losses to UK households in 2023.
TSB also estimates that over 70,000 purchase fraud cases – almost 200 a day – took place on Facebook Marketplace alone in 2022. The retail bank revealed that while 80 per cent of the fraud it sees originates from Meta platforms, three-fifths (60 per cent) of these cases come directly from Facebook Marketplace, with a further 18 per cent coming via Instagram.
Meta platforms also account for 86 per cent of impersonation fraud, driven by a sharp increase in WhatsApp-based ‘friends and family fraud’ which has surged by 300 per cent in the last year. Instagram has also driven 59 per cent of all investment fraud seen by TSB.
Paul Davis, director of fraud prevention at TSB, offered his expertise. “Meta needs to face up to its responsibility: it has a duty of care to the millions of customers who use its platforms, which is all the more important when we see innocent people lose life-changing sums every day,” he explained.
“Today, we have written to Meta demanding it puts in place the tech interventions urgently required to stem the tide of fraud and protect the many consumers who put faith in its services,” Davis concluded.
What can Meta do to reduce fraud levels on its platforms?
TSB has highlighted the five tech interventions Meta should take to drastically reduce the high levels of fraud and therefore protect the millions of people who use Meta services every day.
1. Introduce a secure payment mechanism so people using Facebook Marketplace can pay for goods safely. At present, Marketplace transactions do not go through a recognised payments system and payments can take place directly from a victim to a fraudster. Providing such a platform could significantly reduce Marketplace fraud.
2. Stop unregulated firms, in the UK, using Facebook and Instagram to advertise investments and financial products, including cryptocurrencies.
3. Issue a clear public commitment to investigating – and where confirmed, removing – all content flagged as potentially fraudulent within 24 hours.
4. Filter out and block fraudulent adverts and social media posts such as those using terms like ‘cash flip’ or ‘crypto offer’.
5. Flag to WhatsApp users when they’re contacted by new numbers and warn them to check that the numbers are genuine.