UK banking fraud losses at their lowest for a decade

UK banking fraud losses at their lowest for a decade

Fraud losses on UK cards, cheques and online banking in 2010 fell to their lowest level since the turn of the century, according to new banking industry data.

Total fraud losses on UK cards fell to £365.4 million in 2010 - a 17% reduction compared with losses in 2009. This is the lowest annual total since 2000 and follows on from a fall of 28% in 2009, says the UK Cards Association.

The downward trend is attributed to banking industry fraud fighting initiatives, Chip and PIN card upgrades, and increased awareness among retailers and consumers.

Online banking fraud losses totalled £46.7 million in 2010 - a 22% fall on the 2009 figure - as banks installed sophisticated fraud detection software and more consumers equipped their PCs with up-to-date anti-virus protection. The dip in online fraud has occurred despite a continuing rise in phishing attacks, up 21% from 2009.

Phone banking fraud losses totalled £12.7 million during 2010, an increase of five per cent from 2009. Most losses involve customers simply being tricked into disclosing their personal security details - through cold calling or fake e-mails, says Financial Fraud Action UK.

Cheque fraud losses are also on the decline, down by nearly £1 million from £29.8 million in 2009 to £28.9 million during 2010. The continuing drop in cheque usage has contributed to this three per cent fall in overall cheque fraud losses.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Barnard, head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) - the industry-sponsored specialist police unit that tackles the organised criminal gangs behind fraud - comments: "Whilst another drop in fraud is good news, the fraudsters haven't shut up shop which is why there can be no room for complacency on the part of the banking industry, retailers, law enforcement or indeed customers themselves."

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