UK Contemplates Comprehensive Prohibition on Cold Calls for Crypto Investments
The U.K. Treasury has taken a significant step in its efforts to combat financial fraud by addressing the issue of cold calls. In response to the looming ban on such calls, the Treasury has issued a consultation paper aimed at understanding the potential impact on various stakeholders. This move comes as the United Kingdom grapples with a mounting fraud problem, which reportedly costs the nation a staggering 7 billion pounds annually, according to estimates from the National Crime Agency.
The government’s determination to tackle this issue is evident in its recent announcement of an extensive fraud strategy. The plan involves the creation of 400 new jobs to bolster intelligence-led policing efforts. Amidst this, the Treasury has expressed its strong stance against the surge in cold calls targeting vulnerable members of society. Andrew Griffith, the economic secretary to the Treasury, emphasized that such behavior will not be tolerated.
The consultation paper sheds light on several cases where investors suffered losses due to fraudulent cold calls. Notably, one case pertained to cryptocurrencies, demonstrating the evolving tactics scammers employ. Despite previous attempts to curb cold calling through prohibitions and restrictions, scammers continue to exploit loopholes within the system.
To address this, the Treasury has proposed a comprehensive ban on cold calls related to financial services. However, recognizing the potential impact on legitimate businesses that rely on cold calls, the Treasury has posed 19 questions to stakeholders. This approach aims to strike a balance between effectively curbing scams and minimizing adverse effects on businesses.
Stakeholders have until September 27, 2023, to provide their input on the proposed ban. This period of consultation allows for a thorough examination of the issue, considering various perspectives and potential consequences.
In a related development, the U.K. government has declined to classify cryptocurrencies as gambling. Instead, it plans to work alongside the crypto industry to establish clear standards for approval within the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) gateway. This approach aims to ensure that crypto firms operating in the UK adhere to the required standards.
However, critics argue that this approach might conflict with internationally agreed recommendations. Despite this, the government remains committed to its strategy, focusing on collaboration with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the crypto industry to establish a regulatory framework that fosters both security and innovation.
As the consultation period progresses and the ban on cold calls inches closer, the United Kingdom faces a crucial juncture in its battle against financial fraud. Balancing the interests of businesses and individuals while combating scams will undoubtedly be a complex challenge.