08/03/2005

UK card frauds swipe £500 million

Losses caused by credit and debit card fraud rose to £504.8 million last year, the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS) has reported.

The biggest type of fraud continues to be 'card-not-present' fraud, the APACS report stated. However, counterfeit cards and cards that were lost or stolen accounted for almost half (48%) of all last year's losses.

The organisation said that the new 'chip and pin system', which is now almost fully implemented, would have a major impact on these two areas. However, it admitted that the introduction of the system might actually have attributed to the rise of stolen cards.

Fraud on cards stolen before genuine cardholders received them rose by 62% last year, which was attributed to the unusually high number of cards that were sent out, due to the introduction of 'chip and pin'. In 2004, an average of around 200,000 cards were sent out per day.

APACS also reported the first recorded losses for online banking fraud, which reached £12 million last year.

It was also reported that ID theft on cards had also "grown significantly" over the last two years and fraud at UK cash machines had also increased by 81%. APACS stressed that 'chip and pin' would increasingly help in these areas as the number of shops where cards stolen in transit can be used will be reduced. The system will also prevent the use of skimmed cards at cash machines.

APACS also reported that fraud losses overseas were continuing to decline, largely due to increasingly sophisticated fraud intelligence systems used by card companies.

Sandra Quinn, director of corporate communications, APACS, commented: "As more of us use a PIN, the harder a criminal's life becomes. But clearly they are going to keep targeting cards. Many people have predicted where the fraudsters will attack next, but we have long foreseen that we need to keep cards secure in all environments. That's why there is a whole raft of fraud prevention initiatives in place and in the pipeline to prevent, deter and detect all kinds of card fraud – both at individual bank level and industry-wide."

Information about safe online banking can be found at: www.banksafeonline.org.uk

Information regarding identity theft for consumers can be found at: www.identitytheft.org.uk

(KMcA/SP)

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