EU urges online platforms to gird for new wave of COVID consumer scams

COVID-19 coverage

The European Commission has urged online platforms to prepare for a brand new wave of consumer scams linked to the resurgence of all COVID-19 infections in Europe and said they will need to work harder against the spread of disinformation linked to the pandemic.

The European Union executive says that rogue traders have tried to sell products online that are falsely presented as remedies for coronavirus or prevention of infection, and fraudsters have used offers to steal email addresses and addresses.

“We know from our earlier experience that fraudsters see this pandemic as an opportunity to trick European consumers,” Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said in a statement.

“We need to be even more agile during the second wave currently hitting Europe,” he added following a meeting with platform executives where he encouraged them to join forces to strengthen their response to would-be fraudsters.

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The online platforms liaising with the European Commission to fight consumer scams are Allegro, Amazon, Alibaba/AliExpress, CDiscount, Ebay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft/Bing, Rakuten, Verizon Media/Yahoo and Wish.

It said that since March these platforms have reported the elimination of countless millions of illegal offers and advertisements and confirmed a steady decline in fresh coronavirus-related listings.

Separately, the Commission said a new report revealed Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and TikTok had taken “useful actions” to fight false and misleading coronavirus-related information but harmful content was still present on line.

“Viral spreading of disinformation related to the pandemic puts our citizens’ health and safety at risk,” Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said in a statement.

“We need much stronger cooperation with online platforms in the coming weeks to fight disinformation effectively”.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by John Chalmers. Editing by Chizu Nomiyama.

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