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UK Stop Ad Funded Crime (UKSAFC) set up to tackle online fraud

Mobile Marketing - Member Content

UK Stop Ad Funded Crime (UKSAFC) has been set up by a group of advertising professionals, policymakers, technology providers and agencies to tackle the problem of ad-funded crime in the United Kingdom, providing a template that the rest of the world can follow. It aims to highlight the scale of advertising fraud in the UK, the threat it represents, and to coordinate a multi-stakeholder approach to address it.

The value of digital advertising spend lost to fraud will reach $68 billion globally in 2022; rising from $59 billion in 2021 according to estimates by Juniper Research. According to the Police, 80 per cent of all UK fraud is cyber-enabled. British businesses, third sector organisations and government agencies are unwittingly paying for invalid traffic – fake views and clicks from sophisticated bot networks that eat into advertisers’ budgets. Meanwhile, misplaced ads, revenue fraud, and malvertising are rife online. 

Much of this fraud is orchestrated by organised criminal gangs, foreign adversaries, and even extremist groups. With advertising money being used to fund a range of malicious activities, there’s evidence that foreign adversaries are benefitting.

The UKSAFC will highlight the scale of the problem, and coordinate a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing it. On the advisory team is policy, regulation and Government Affairs specialist, former CEO of Radiocentre and Senior Civil Servant, Ian Moss. He explained: “As an industry, we still haven’t managed to crack this issue. Yet there is a huge appetite out there, and so we are seeking to get the whole value chain together. We are also ruthlessly following the money – looking at who is committing the fraud, including foreign adversaries and criminal networks. This time we’re actually going to make a difference.”

Chris Morgan, Founder of MAP, added: “It’s already a huge leap forwards that clients and agencies alike have got onboard with the coalition; sharing their expertise and showing willingness to take action. By talking to government and enforcement agencies, building up research, and sharing expertise and knowledge, we will deliver a world leading initiative that drives action.”

“We will be holding short, monthly meetings to which all in the industry are welcome - to combine expertise and support, to look at the landscape, to plan ahead, to ensure a safe online environment and to increase trust in advertising,” added Moss.

Of the UK’s yearly advertising spend of £16.5bn in 2020, it is estimated that £1.3bn of it was lost through advertising fraud. This British money directly funds foreign regimes, extremist groups, and criminal enterprises. The time to act is running out. Join the UKSAFC now to take a stand against ad fraud.