As part of ongoing cross-industry efforts to help tackle the issue of financial fraud, we recently announced that we were the first major technology firm to join Stop Scams UK. We also pledged $5 million in advertising credits to support public awareness campaigns in the UK, helping to ensure that consumers are better informed about how to spot the tactics of scammers both online and offline.
Today, we are announcing a significant additional measure to protect users and legitimate advertisers, and help prevent scammers exploiting our platforms. The Google Ads Financial Products and Services policy will be updated from 30th August to introduce new certification requirements for financial services advertisers targeting the UK.
Financial services advertisers will be required to demonstrate that they are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority or qualify for one of the limited exemptions described in the UK Financial Services verification page. This new update builds on significant work in partnership with the FCA over the last 18 months to help tackle this issue.
Today’s announcement reflects significant progress in delivering a safer experience for users, publishers and advertisers. While we understand that this policy update will impact a range of advertisers in the financial services space, our utmost priority is to keep users safe on our platforms — particularly in an area so disproportionately targeted by fraudsters.
Here’s what you need to know about the policy update:
- The policy will be updated on August 30, 2021, and enforcement will begin seven days later, on September 6, 2021.
- Advertisers must successfully complete the updated verification process by the time enforcement begins in order to show financial services ads to UK users. This will include showing ads to UK users who appear to be seeking financial services.
- As part of the verification process, advertisers must demonstrate that they are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority or qualify for one of the limited exemptions described in the UK Financial Services verification page.
- This requirement covers financial services products both regulated by and not regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
This new policy update is only the latest step in our commitment to tackling online financial crime in the UK. Our teams continue to use a mixture of machine learning and human review to analyse user experiences and take action.
For the last 18 months, we have worked with the FCA to receive notifications when additions are made to the FCA warning list. Based on feedback from the FCA, we have also updated policies, such as our unreliable claims policy. This update restricted the rates of return a firm can advertise and banned the use of terms that make unrealistic promises of large financial return with minimal risk, effort or investment.
Globally, we have also introduced new advertiser identity verification which requires advertisers to submit personal legal identification, business incorporation documents or other information that proves who they are and the country in which they operate.
We are committed to adapting and collaborating with industry and government organisations to lead on necessary changes to help fight evolving tactics by scammers.