Online scams are a problem nobody talks about but that is estimated to cause 10 billion dollar of damages per year in the US alone - not counting broken hearts, families and even lives lost. Whether it's romance scams, grandparent scams or any the other fraud that trick victoms into transferring large amounts to untraceable accounts abroad, our consumer protection efforts are trailing far behind the technological progress and means that professional scammers deploy today.

It's a problem, that knows no age. I've seen trainees being tricked to spending 600€ for iTunes gift cards thinking they were talking to my boss on Whatsapp after clicking a phishing mail. And I've seen my own family life suffer with one of my relatives no longer able to distinguish an obvious scam from a serious business proposals and sending his family fortune to Ghana. It's a personal topic and I see how little can be done by immediate relatives or public administration to stop obvious scams.

The solution to both cases would be relatively simple: If my credit card gets stolen, any payments made have to be reimboursed by my bank. There is an industry that tries to identify credit card fraud to minimize reimboursements from credit card theft. Because there is a liability risk for financial institutions.

Better protection means:

  • Commerce

    Online merchants selling gift cards or similar products need to flag warnings on dubious transactions that clearly indicate to the buyer that he or she should validate the identiy of the person for whom these products are bought, because it is a classic scam.

  • Banking

    Banks receiving transfer orders from clients succeptible to be victims of scams or to dubious locations should pass through a manual validation before executing the order, including speaking to the client, or else be liable for reimboursement

In theory this should be straightforward legislation to pass that would put serious stoppers to the most common online scams. If it helps reduce fraudulent payments by a certain percentage, online scamming risks to quickly become unprofitable.

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I'm head of the list for Volt France. Sadly, to get into the European Parliament in France, the best ideas will never see the light of day without funding to finance bulletins de vote and professions de fois and the network to share good proposals. If you have contacts possibly willing to support more consumer protection against online fraud with a donation or even want to donate yourself, you can push this idea a step closer to becoming reality. If you want to share this proposal in your network, please do, so we can create the momentum we need. Thank you!

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