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New fake ad alert system launched to fight online scams

According to ITV, the UK Scam Ad Alert tool – developed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) with backing from digital advertising platforms and tech giants – will enable people to report scam ads which emerge in paid-for spaces online.

The ASA will then communicate details of the ads, remove them, and suspend the advertiser’s account where possible. The ASA stated that the system is launched in response to concerning increasing trends around online fraud and the financial damage that can be caused.

ASA chief executive, Guy Parker stated: 

“The overwhelming majority of ads responsibly inform and entertain their audience, but a small minority are published with criminal intent.”

The Scam Ad Alert system will play a crucial role in helping to detect and disrupt these sorts of scams. By working in collaboration with partners such as Google and Facebook the company can act swiftly to have problem ads removed as part of the company’s ongoing attempts to better secure consumers online.

Nevertheless, Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at ESET, claimed that although such alert systems can help in fighting against online scams, user awareness also plays a huge role in detecting and impeding scams from being successful.

Users require all the aid they can get in a space where scam adverts are omnipresent. However, a scam alert system is only successful when people authentically identify a deceiving advert, and they are removed quickly before others are unfortunate enough to click into them. Like reporting abuse on social media, the efficiency of these kinds of systems is all because of the speed in which they can be effective.

This is although a step in the right direction, however, the best approach is to create awareness among customers and guide them on how to spot a fraudulent advert. Such clues are present in poor stylistics, bad grammar, and suspicious-looking links when hovering over the ad or clicking on it.