“It is frankly absurd that the Financial Conduct Authority is paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to Google to warn consumers against investment advertisements from which Google is already receiving millions in revenue,” said Charles Randell, the chair of the chief financial regulator, last year.

Absolutely right – the position is genuinely ludicrous. It would clearly be better to prevent financial scammers’ poisonous promotions from appearing at all. As Randell put it, there should be a legal framework “to stop social media platforms and search engines from promoting unsuitable investments, including scams, to ordinary retail consumers”.

And the good news – or so you might think – is that the online safety bill is due to be introduced in the Queen’s speech next week. It would seem the perfect vehicle to make the tech companies legally responsible for combating the damage of scam promotions. Action Fraud calculates UK savers were…

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