Money and Mental Health responds to new Online Harms Bill
15 December 2020
Today the government has announced details of its new Online Harms Bill, due to be introduced into Parliament into 2021.
The draft Bill sets out plans to crack down on harmful social media content, and for Ofcom to take on regulatory powers to block access to online services that fail to do enough to protect children and other users.
However, the Bill does not include any plans to tackle online scammers. This is despite new research by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute showing that:
- Nearly 2 million people across the UK say they fell victim to an online scam in the six months after lockdown began
- People who have experienced mental health problems are three times more likely to have fallen victim to an online scam than the wider population.
In response to the draft Bill, Conor D’Arcy, Head of Research and Policy at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said:
“It is extremely disappointing that this Bill fails to address one of the biggest online harms — the absolute devastation that scammers are causing for millions of people online, especially those with mental health problems.
“Our research shows that nearly two million people fell victim to online scams in the six months after lockdown measures began in March. Overall, people with mental health problems are three times more likely to have lost out to scammers. That’s causing trauma and crippling money problems at a time when many people are already under huge financial and mental strain.
“We’re urging the government to fix this problem by putting online scams in the Bill before it is introduced into Parliament next year, and giving Ofcom the powers and responsibility to crack down on scammers. Failing to act now will leave vulnerable people defenceless at the hands of these criminals.”
To set up an interview, or for any other media enquiries, please contact Brian Semple, Head of External Affairs at Money and Mental Health, on 07935 216 804 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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About the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is an independent charity set up by Martin Lewis, and committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems. We conduct research, develop practical policy solutions and work in partnership with both those providing services and those using them to find what really works. www.moneyandmentalhealth.org