Card fraud abroad pushes UK losses up 25%

Card fraud abroad pushes UK losses up 25%

New figures released by UK payments association Apacs shows that industry losses from plastic card fraud jumped by 25% to £535.2 million last year, driven by a hefty 77% rise in fraud committed on UK cards abroad.

Losses from fraud committed overseas by criminals using stolen UK card details - which occurs in countries yet to upgrade to Chip and PIN - was up 77% - or £90.5 million - to £207.6 million. Apacs says fraud abroad now accounts for over one third - 39% - of total card fraud losses.

Counterfeit card fraud was also up 46% to £144.3 million. Apacs says the vast majority of this fraud is due to criminals stealing card details in the UK to make counterfeit cards for use abroad.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications, Apacs, says as more countries upgrade to Chip and PIN, "the opportunities for criminals to use our stolen magnetic stripe details overseas will decrease".

The stats also show that card-not-present fraud (CNP) - which rose 37% to £290.5 million during 2007 - now accounts for more than half of all industry losses from card fraud. The payments association argues that CNP losses have to be seen in context of the huge rise in the number of people shopping online and over the phone. Apacs says CNP fraud losses have risen by 122% between 2001 and 2006 but over the same period the total value of online shopping transactions increased by 358% - from £6.6 billion in 2001 to £30.2 billion in 2006.

Quinn says although card fraud levels have now begun to go up again due to fraud abroad and card-not-present fraud losses, Chip and PIN has been successful in reducing card fraud on the UK high street.

But despite Chip and PIN, there was a six per cent rise - to £327.6 million - in fraud committed in the UK.

However Chip and PIN does seem to be helping reduce fraud levels on the high street, although retailers still saw fraud losses rise one per cent in the last year.

Chip and PIN technology also seems to have helped cut fraud on lost or stolen cards, which fell 18% to £56.2 million - the lowest level for ten years. Cash machine fraud also dropped 44% to £35 million.

Apacs says there was also a decline in Internet banking losses, which fell by a third (33%) to £22.6 million in 2007.

Apacs said last October - when reporting fraud losses for the first half of 2007 - that online banking losses were decreasing because online banks have successfully implemented measures to detect and prevent fraud. However there was an unusually high level of online banking fraud in the first few months of 2006.

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