Over 12 million Brits - one in four of the population - have fallen victim to credit or debit card fraud, according to a report from life assistance company CPP. However the figures - initially presented as a year-on-year number - have been labelled "wildly out of line" by payments association Apacs.
It is astonishing that still in 2009, it is possible to buy valuable easily resold items over the internet and pay for these with a mere payment card number! Imagine the reaction if you step into a department store on High Street and pick up an expensive
item and then go to the cash register and there you orally give the shop assistant your bank account number from where the store can pull the funds. No proof of identity given, no proof of that the bank account number belongs to the customer. This is not possible
in the "physical" world since you would be demanded to pay via your chipcard, either key in your PIN or even show your photo ID card as proof that you are the legitimate holder of the payment card. In the "virtual" world this logic does not apply - diminutive
controls are prevalent at the moment of payment for the majority of transactions. And then we in the industry call the misuse "fraud". As things have been arranged with internet shopping payments via cards, we should be grateful for every correct transaction
that takes place since the "fraud" transactions have every possibility to become the rule and not the exception. So if the UK market has 1 or 12 million defrauded customers is not really the issue. The issue is that they can easily be 50 million.
I'm glad that the original source of the study (that showed one in four to be a vicitm of existing account fraud) announced that they have discovered an error, as the original findings just seemed impossible. My company publishes a very rigorous and nationally-representative
study in the US, and such numbers seem to defy possibility for any region of the world. Global card industry providers would raise the security parameters on individual transactions long before fraud would ever be allowed to reach such a level. While fraud
takes a serious toll on individuals, it is industry (payments providers and merchants) who bear the brunt of fraud losses, and industry also determines what level of systemic settings will allow future transactions to go thru.
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