Industry losses from online banking fraud increased a massive 185% in the first half of the year to £21.4 million, according to figures released by UK payments association Apacs.
Apacs says the increase - from £7.5 million in H1 last year - is largely down to criminals targeting e-banking customers through phishing and spyware scams because the banks' own systems have proved difficult to attack.
More than 20,000 fraudulent phishing Web sites were set up in the first half of 2008, a hefty 186% increase from the same period last year.
Card fraud losses also reached record levels, increasing 14% in the six months to June to £301.7 million. Apacs says more than 40% of this - £121.2 million - is due to card fraud abroad, which involves criminals using stolen UK details at ATM and retailers in countries that have not rolled out chip and PIN technology.
Says Sandra Quinn, director of communications, Apacs: "Criminals continue to target those areas where we do not currently have the security benefits of chip and PIN, causing increases in fraud abroad and phone, internet and mail order shopping fraud. Fraud abroad will be made more difficult for criminals to commit as more countries roll out chip and PIN."
But fraud committed in the UK rose as well - by 17% to £180.5 million for the six months. Of this, fraud committed in face-to-face transactions at retailers was up 26% to £47.4 million while losses at cash machines rose 22% to £20.8 million.
Card not present (CNP) fraud was up 18% to £161.9 million and now accounts for over half of all industry losses. However Apacs 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. It says that from 2001 to 2007 this type of fraud went up by 204% whilst, over the same time period, the value of online shopping card transactions alone increased by 415%.