Following the increase of scam financial ads online during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google will start requiring advertisers to prove that they are authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to run ads. This new policy will be effective from September 6, which means that scammers only have a few months left to gain clicks from fake financial ads and collect victims.
To help you understand the change in policy and its benefits, we will discuss why Google decided to crack down on financial ads in the UK, how Google’s action will help limit scams in the UK, and how you can avoid financial ads scams. Read on to learn how you can protect yourself from fake financial ads!
Why Google Decided To Crack Down on Financial Scam Ads in the UK
The UK FCA issued a warning that it may take legal action against Google if the latter keeps allowing financial ads that do not undergo proper screening. Thus, Google decided to enforce stricter policies and only allow FCA-approved advertisers to run advertisements. Given that the FCA is not bound by European Union rules on financial advertisements anymore, it can now take steps against fake ads on online platforms.
Before the FCA gained the authority to chase after Google, it had been exerting efforts to prevent the increase of scam financial ads online. In fact, the FCA paid over £600,000 or $830,000 to Google just to run anti-scam advertisements and make sure that these warnings overpower the scam ads themselves. With the UK FCA’s post-Brexit authority, Google seems to be taking the right steps to control fraudulent financial ads.
How Google’s Action Will Help Limit Scams and Scam Ads in the UK
Last year, the FCA released 1,200 warnings regarding scam financial ads on Google, which is twice the number recorded in 2019. Also, according to Which?, a UK consumer group, among almost 2,000 search engine users, 51% said they do not know how to report strange-looking ads. With the new policy, financial entities have yet to prove they’re authorized by the FCA before they can run financial ads. Thus, with the stricter screening process, fraudulent financial ads are expected to be mitigated, if not completely removed.
Based on Google’s transparency report, the company has enhanced its rules for ad screening. Last year, it claimed it was able to get rid of more than three billion advertisements that failed to comply with its policies. Google has also started requiring advertisers to pass necessary documents, like business incorporation, legal identification, and proof of the country they operate in. For cryptocurrency advertisements, they’re already regulated. Only those registered with the FCA are allowed to advertise.
According to the Financial Conduct Authority, the new policy is a significant and positive move from Google. However, it thinks a permanent and consistent solution requires legislation. Also, the FCA believes that investment scams from online ads must be part of the Online Safety Bill. The regulatory body in the UK also stated that it would evaluate the outcome of Google’s policy change after its enforcement in September.
How To Avoid Financial Scam Ads
While the new policy on screening financial ads has yet to be implemented, you must learn how to avoid financial ad scams through the following steps:
- Do not share your password. Avoid writing it down, or if you need to do so, make sure you keep it in a safe and secure place, such as a password manager.
- Use distinct and strong passwords for each of your accounts. They must contain letters, numbers, and symbols and should be hard to guess.
- Never share your personal or any other crucial information. Otherwise, you may have to face the consequences of getting your identity stolen.
- To protect private information stored on your device, install antivirus and spyware protection. To ensure that the program remains updated, turn on the auto-update feature.
- Look for ads with strange formatting, several misspelled words, and grammatical errors. Avoid clicking on them because they’re most probably fake.
- Preview the actual URL. Do not click on the link, and hover over it using your mouse to see the real destination address.
- Only purchase from reputable sites. Also, do not pay through wire transfer because it allows scammers to take your money without giving you a chance to recover it.
- Beware of ads with out-of-this-world offers. Fraudulent financial ads usually offer high returns to trick you into clicking the ad and gaining your personal and financial information.
Catch Financial Ad Scams With Social Catfish
As we’ve presented above, Google is introducing a new policy to limit scams on financial ads. Also, by performing the steps we have shared, you can guard yourself against financial ad scams. If you think someone’s trying to lure you into an online financial scam, utilize the reverse search platform of Social Catfish to discover their identity right away.