UK financial regulator using data to tackle fraud faster

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is tackling online scams at a faster pace as part of its data strategy.

The regulatory body said that it is using data to address online fraud more quickly by scanning around 100,000 websites created every day to identify those that appear to be scams.

While the FCA has no power to force the closure of websites, it said it is “proactive" in requesting website hosts shut them down.

“Better use of data means we can be more proactive and find and stop harm faster,” said Jessica Rusu, chief data, information, and intelligence officer. “We are continuing to improve our data, technology and capabilities to act decisively in consumers interests, while making it easier for firms to report to us.”

Between May 2021 and April 2022, the regulator added 1,966 possible scams to its consumer warning list – more than a third more than during the same period of the previous year.

The authority says it plans to “invest heavily” in its use of data over the next 12-months and recruit a significant number of skilled roles across a number of areas, including: AI; analytics; and data science.

It is currently using advanced analytics and new sources of data to identify inappropriate financial adverts. Last year 564 adverts were withdrawn or amended, double the number compared to previous years.

The FCA has also introduced a sanctions screening tool following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which supports the monitoring of the effectiveness of a firm’s controls in identifying organisations or individuals that have been sanctioned.

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