Cash machine fraud in the UK rose by 85% to £61 million in the year to June 2004, according to banking industry figures.
Umbrella payments body Apacs says cash machine crime accounted for the fastest growing category of card fraud during the year to June 2004. The rapid rise in ATM fraud comes as organised crime gangs extend their use of card copying skimming devices beyond the big cities to cash machines across the country, says Apacs.
Sandra Quinn, director of corporate communications for Apacs, says: "Criminals are making extra efforts to target cash machines before chip and PIN – which will prevent the use of skimmed cards in cash machines - is fully rolled out."
Despite the surge in fraud, she says, losses of £61.1 million represent less than 0.05 per cent of the £144 billion of money safely withdrawn from cash machines in 2003.
Apacs research, published for the first time today, shows that 34% of customers feel secure using their cash cards but are careful when someone might be looking over their shoulder; and another 38% feel secure using their cash cards but are wary in certain situations, such as at night or in isolated areas. In total, 82% of customers feel secure using cash machines; nine per cent do not feel secure; and nine per cent never use cash machines for other reasons.
Apacs confirmed that total card fraud rose by 18% to £478.8 million in the 12 months to June 2004. The £28.1 million increase in fraudulent cash machine withdrawals marked a major portion of this increase. Counterfeit card fraud fell by 2 per cent to £123.0 million; lost and stolen card fraud rose by 11% to £118.8 million; mail non-receipt fraud grew 51% to £61.2 million; card not present fraud increased by 29% to £138.8 million; and identity theft rose 50% to £37.0 million.
The latest figures come as UK business group the CBI joins with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Cabinet Office and leading technology companies in an initiative to educate consumers about new types of Internet fraud such as phishing.
Microsoft, eBay and Lloyds TSB have been lined up as sponsors for the initiative, named Project Endurance, which will begin with a mass-market TV and print campaign in the spring.