The UK Government must legislate to ensure search engine companies do not mislead consumers or promote financial scams, according to a leading global insurer.

Aviva said the UK Government must include paid-for adverts in the scope of its Online Safety Bill to provide greater consumer protection from online financial fraud.

The call comes as new data revealed just over half of internet users do not trust that adverts on search engines are placed by a legitimate financial services company or provider. Around 56 per cent also do not believe that search engines verify the authenticity of a financial product or services yet still take their money for advertising.

The findings come in The Aviva Fraud Report, which found consumer confidence in online services remains low among high levels of deception.

Over-55s were the least likely to trust online adverts for financial services, with only 29 per cent…

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