Can the largest robbery in the UK be stopped?

When you see a figure the size of £290m has been stolen, it amounts to a sizeable chunk of revenue. As one source commented last week, it is one of the largest robberies ever committed in the UK and it is coming from the pockets of numerous victims including resellers.

When you see a figure the size of £290m has been stolen, it amounts to a sizeable chunk of revenue.

As one source commented last week, it is one of the largest robberies ever committed in the UK and it is coming from the pockets of numerous victims including resellers caught out with cardholder not present (CNP) fraud.

CNP fraud has been the bane of the channel’s life for years and some might remember the campaign and petition this magazine ran just before Blair won his third term.

At that point there were noises coming from the banking community that they were implementing procedures that would make fraud harder. Then of course there was all the fuss about chip and pin.

But the figures speak for themselves and far from CNP fraud being driven down, it has continued to rise. Some might argue for the latest figures to be put into the context of increasing numbers of people going online, but as one source said: "Theft is a theft and either you can stop it or you can’t."

It appears to be a case of the latter with a certain amount of CNP fraud having the feel of an inevitability about it.

Those in the channel that hoped things like Verified by Visa would stop things are now talking in the same way about PCI having some sort of positive impact. The problem is that it should not just be the resellers talking about this.

When figures like this come out, the channel and the public at large want to see senior banking officials standing shoulder to shoulder with the police and using aggressive language about trying to stop it.

But as at least one person has pointed out, when they were published, these figures were almost completely eclipsed by the budget announcement and so those suffering the pain will go on feeling they are doing so in isolation

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