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Revolut says Meta platforms are a 'hotbed' for scams

In tune with bank findings, Revolut scam data for 2023 reveals that the majority of all its reported crime cases in the UK started on Meta platforms.

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Revolut says Meta platforms are a 'hotbed' for scams

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Across its UK customer base in 2023, Revolut found that 60% of all of its reported UK scam cases originated from just three sources: Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. Additionally, 33% of the total value of all money lost to scams began on Meta platforms across the same period.

The use of Meta platforms as the primary originator of scams is only increasing, says Revolut, rising from 52% of all reported cases in the UK in the first half of the year, to 66% in the six months to the end of December 2023

The stark figures showed a similar trend across Revolut’s European markets, with 61% of all EEA reported scam cases originating from Meta, and 37% of the total value of all money lost to scams, starting from the social media giant.

Revolut’s data showed that 59% of all money lost online came through investment scams in 2023, despite only representing 17% of the total number of cases, showing that life changing sums of money were being lost across comparatively few cases. Conversely, Purchase Scams were the most common type of fraud, representing 50% of UK cases across the same period, but less than 6% of the overall value lost.

Woody Malouf, group head of financial crime at Revolut, who yesterday spoke at a Home Affairs Select Committee on fraud, says: “It has become increasingly clear that Meta platforms are being used as a hotbed for scams. Our data not only shows that scams are being facilitated through social media platforms, but that investment scams in particular are resulting in life changing sums of money being stolen."

He says Revolut has invested vast sums in building defences against cyber fraud and has saved its customers more than £200m in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2022 alone.

“We are fully determined to protect our customers as best we can through our fraud prevention technologies, but there is no denying that this is an issue that also needs to be tackled at source to have any hope of being beaten," says Malouf. “Banks and financial institutions should be the last line of defence, not the only line of defence.”

Other banks speaking at the hearing also called on the social media giant to roll out stronger fraud prevention measures.

"Eighty percent of scams that we deal with originate from social media, and when I say social media, the majority of them start from the channels owned by one company in particular, which is Meta," Paul Davis, financial crime prevention director at TSB Bank, told the committee.

Meta public policy head Philip Milton, who testified before the committee, said his company takes fraud prevention "extremely seriously".

Milton said Meta has adopted such measures as verifying ads on its platforms and permitting only financial ads that have cleared the UK Financial Services Verification process rolled out by the Financial Conduct Authority.

"A good indicator of fraud is fake accounts, as scammers generally tend to use fake accounts to carry out scams. As fraud prevention, Meta removed 827 million fake accounts in the third quarter of 2023," Milton said.

The FCA today issued a fresh call for social media firms to do more to prevent mass fraud on their platforms. The watchdog says that it issued 2,286 warnings last year alerting consumers about firms and individuals operating without its authorisation, up 21% from 1,882 in 2022.

In November, eleven Big Tech firms and social media platforms signed up to a UK Online Fraud Charter to combat rising levels of scams from fake adverts. Under the new Charter the companies, which include Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Match Group, Microsoft, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube, have pledged to verify new advertisers and "promptly" remove any fraudulent content.

The FCA notes that there has been a near 100% drop in illegal paid-for ads on social media platforms since the Charter was agreed.

It says these firms must now do more to stop non-paid, organic, content promoting scams.

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