Plastic card fraud losses on UK-issued cards increased 53 per cent in the 24 months to August 2002 prompting banks, retailers and police to increase their clampdown on the organised criminals responsible for annual losses of nearly £430 million.
The most prevalent types of card fraud at shops in the UK are counterfeit card fraud, which cost £161 million in the last year, and fraud involving lost and stolen cards, which cost £109 million, according to figures released by payments body Apacs.
Next year's introduction of a chip card and personal identification number (PIN) payment system in the UK is expected to lead to a significant reduction in counterfeit card fraud.
In the interim, retail staff are being urged to increase their vigilance and cardholders are being reminded to look after their cards. Card Watch, Apacs’ fraud prevention programme is launching a campaign called Don’t Stand 4 Fraud to support retailers in the fight against plastic card criminals.
"Highly organised criminals are responsible for the massive rises in card fraud over the past few years," says Mark Bowerman of Card Watch. "These criminals will probably increase their fraudulent efforts over the next year before the introduction of the chip and PIN system, but just by taking sensible precautions cardholders can prevent themselves becoming a victim of card fraud."