Joe Lycett: Sites like Airbnb and eBay need to do more to stop scams | Scams

Platforms that connect buyers and sellers like Airbnb and eBay must do more to protect consumers from scams, says comedian and TV presenter Joe Lycettwho accused them of pocketing the revenue but refusing to take responsibility for the fraud.

The presenter of Channel 4’s Got Your Back consumer rights show Joe Lycett has told his peers that regulation, including the introduction of tougher controls, should put pressure on social media and content platforms. lucrative sales to help customers who regularly lose thousands of pounds in transactions with fake sellers.

Speaking to the House of Lords Digital Fraud Committee, he said: “I think the biggest area that we think could do better is platforms.

“These platforms often make a lot of money…they should be forced to do more in this area.”

He described the typical response from the platforms as follows: “Well, it has nothing to do with us, we just offered the platform where you meet and find these businesses, but if you get scammed , it has nothing to do with us.”

Lycett said his TV show team created a fake account for the general manager of AirbnbBrian Chesky, and a fraudulent listing for Airbnb offices in London.

“They didn’t check and they didn’t arrest him. We arrived with the paperwork, and they didn’t like to see us, they wouldn’t let us in,” he said.

He also criticized banks for failing to protect consumers from increasingly sophisticated scams, citing the example of a woman who lost thousands of pounds after scammers texted her from the number NatWest’s official phone, meaning messages arrived in an existing thread with his bank, a scam also replicated. in phone calls from legitimate numbers.

“[NatWest’s] The argument was, “We can’t stop people from pretending to be something they’re not because they’ve been very sophisticated in the way they do it,” he said.

Many banks have signed a voluntary code that reimburses blameless victims who are tricked into transferring money, but critics say this is applied inconsistently.

Lycett said: “It’s a bit to [the banks’] discretion if they reimburse their customers who have been scammed.

He added that it was “a bit too easy” to open a bank account without too many questions, and personal details were widely available online to buy for as little as 20p.

Lycett also told his peers that his TV program would never have been commissioned if Channel 4 had not existed, as most commercial broadcasters would view it as too risky from a legal standpoint.

When asked what surprised him the most in the three years since the show started, he said the volume and sophistication of scams, with the cases that appear on the show representing a tiny fraction of stories that producers receive.

He added that although the stereotypical victim of the scam is an older person less familiar with modern technology, in reality the rates were much higher for young people between the ages of 16 and 34.

Complex romance scams in which victims are cared for over a period of months, such as the fraud depicted in the Netflix series The Tinder scammerare also on the rise, he said.

Lycett said it was crucial that more was done to stop scammers – who often operate overseas and are difficult for police to track down and prosecute – because fraud “absolutely ruins people’s lives”.

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