Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp has joined Stop Scams UK, an industry-led group of businesses working together in an effort to stop the spread of scams, it has been announced.

The tech firm joins the likes of BT, Google, Microsoft and a number of the banking giants, including Barclays and HSBC, as a member of the organisation.

Stop Scams UK said the addition of Meta was a “watershed moment” in its work to “stop scams at source”, noting that most fraud involves criminals posing as members of the banking, tech and telecoms sectors in order to scam their victims.

The group uses collaboration between its members to try to find solutions to scams and fraud spreading on their platforms or by impersonating their business.

It said scams were currently growing at an alarming rate, with incidents where victims were manipulated into making payments to criminals in real time up 60% in the first six months of 2021 compared with the previous year.

Ruth Evans, chair of Stop Scams UK, said: “I am delighted to welcome Meta as the newest member of Stop Scams UK. This is a watershed moment for us and will bring new reach and capability in our work to stop scams at source.

“The growth in our tech sector membership has been a gamechanger, enhancing our ability to help our members stop scams at source and limiting the harm to consumers.

“Meta’s reach, rich customer insight and range of services will add significantly to our ability to stop scams before they can cause harm.

“The collective firepower and capability of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook will have a transformative impact on the ability of Stop Scams UK to help keep people safe.

“I hope that other firms in the tech sector will follow Meta’s example and join Microsoft and Google in coming together to collaborate with our members, including the UK’s leading banks and telecoms firms, to help businesses work together to keep consumers safe from scams.”

Martin Lewis announcement
Steve Hatch, Meta’s vice president for Northern Europe, said the tech giant was looking forward to working with Stop Scams UK (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Steve Hatch, Meta’s vice president for Northern Europe, said: “Scammers use multiple methods on and offline to exploit people including fake phone calls and text messages, phishing emails and scam ads.

“We don’t want fraudulent activity on our platforms and we’re dedicating significant resources to tackling this industry-wide issue.

“We’re looking forward to working with Stop Scams UK on this cross-sector initiative to help identify scams and share insights and best practices to further protect people from financial harm online.”