’Online fraud has drastically undermined consumer trust in financial services,’ says head of claims counter fraud 

Aviva’s head of claims counter fraud Pete Ward has said the new Online Safety Bill (OSB) will be “imperative to protecting consumers” from fraudsters.

Speaking to Insurance Times, Ward said the insurer welcomed the new legislation, which was passed through the House of Lords last week (19 September 2023).

The bill will make social media firms more responsible for the safety of users on their platforms as the government looks to crackdown on harmful internet content.

As part of this, new laws have been added to the bill to help tackle online fraud.

This means that social media platforms will have to stop users being exposed to fraudulent adverts by blocking and removing scams.

“Online fraud has drastically undermined consumer trust in financial services, putting millions of people at risk of falling victim to scam adverts and bogus promotions,” Ward said.

“Aviva welcomes the OSB and believes the legislation is imperative to protecting consumers as they make important financial decisions.”


The passing of the bill came after firms in the insurance industry, including Aviva, campaigned for the bill’s scope to be broadened to include financial scams. 

Research by the insurer in August 2021 found that 87% of respondents thought that the government should introduce legislation to ensure search engines and social media sites do not mislead consumer or promote financials scams.

Under the new OSB, if social media platforms do not act to prevent and remove illegal content and stop children seeing material that is harmful to them, they will face significant fines that could reach billions of pounds. 

Ofcom will be largely responsible for enforcing the bill after it is given Royal Assent.

Ward added: “Aviva has long called for legislation against financial scams promoted by paid-for adverts and was an early adopter of actions to protect our customers from fraudsters. 

“The bill’s inclusion of these measures should now hold advertisers to account and help ensure that the UK is a safe place for everyone to be online.”