Credit card fraud rockets


Credit and debit card fraud rocketed in the first half of this year, with fraud abroad accounting for a massive 40% of the £301 million lost to conmen.

Figures from the UK payments association, APACS, show that plastic card fraud was up 14% in the first half of the year, hitting a whopping £301.7 million. Of this, more than 40% was a result of criminals using stolen UK card details at cash machines and retailers in countries that have yet to upgrade to chip and PIN.

Cheque fraud also soared by 35% during the period, despite fewer retailers now accepting this form of payment. And online fraud has also gone through the roof, up an unbelievable 185% to £21.4 million.

Criminals are now increasingly targeting UK-issued cards in order to use them in countries without chip and PIN, according to APACS, prompting a 190% increases in losses abroad over the past three years.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS, says: "Criminals continue to target those areas where we do not currently have the security benefits of chip and PIN, causing increases in fraud abroad and phone, internet and mail order shopping fraud. Fraud abroad will be made more difficult for criminals to commit as more countries rollout chip and PIN.”

Online purchases are not the only area where ‘card not present’ fraud has increased. APACS says losses from phone and mail order shopping continue to increase year-on-year, currently standing at £161.9 million. These transactions represent 54% of all card fraud losses.

And another area of concern is online banking; despite high levels of investment in security, online banking fraud is up 185% since 2007 with losses totalling £21.4 million during the six months to June 2008. One reason is a rise in phishing attacks, where conmen send false emails claiming to be from your bank and encouraging you to log-in through a fraudulent website.

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