Credit card fraud hotspots revealed
The worst cities in the UK for card fraud have been revealed, as figures show the average victim of this crime loses more than £650.
Unsurprisingly, London has been named as the 'capital' of credit card fraud, in the CPP’s annual card fraud study. Incidences have increased by 10% in the last year, with 38% of Londoners now having been affected at least once.
This is the second year running that London has topped the tables for the worst card fraud in the country. However, it is closely followed by Cardiff, where 34% of the population have been hit by credit card fraud in the past year.
Glasgow (31%), Manchester (29%) and Brighton (27%) also feature in the top five (see full table below).
Interestingly, five cities - Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield, Nottingham and Liverpool - have seen the number of credit card fraud victims fall in the past year. Leeds saw no change, whereas Brighton saw the biggest jump, with the number of victims increasing from 12% to 27% during the period.
“The dramatic increase in card fraud shows no sign of abating which isn’t surprising given the desperate measures some people will resort to during the recession,” says Kerry D’Souza, card fraud expert at CPP.
“Fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated, especially when it comes to online transactions which are a particular cause for concern.”
The study also shows that one in four Brits - over 12 million people – have been hit by credit card fraud. Around 39% of victims are targeted while using their cards online, while 21% have their cards cloned while using a cash point or chip and PIN device.
Meanwhile, out of all cards that are physically lost and stolen, one in 10 are used fraudulently.
According to D’Souza, the sums of money involved in these fraud cases are substantial. The average sum fraudulently transacted is over £650, but one in 20 victims report losses of over £2,000.
The number of people who fail to spot they have fallen victim to credit card fraud is also on the up; 42% only found out about fraudulent transactions when alerted by their bank.
|Source: CPP’s annual card fraud study|
Credit card fraud
Credit cardholders can be defrauded in a number of ways: “skimming”, when someone copies the data from your card’s magnetic strip onto another card without your knowledge (in shops, bars and restaurants); stolen or lost cards being used by thieves; and postal interceptions where the card the bank sends you never gets delivered. Another way is through identity fraud, where criminals get hold of a utility bill, a bank statement or some other form of personal information so that they can take out credit cards, loans or mortgages in your name.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.