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Online frauds rise as card scammers get away with less

Paul Kunert

Cardholder not present (CNP) fraud fell for the first time in the UK from January to June this year according to figures from Financial Fraud Action UK.

Card not present frauds, a past scourge of e-tail and mail order suppliers, fell 18% in the six months to £134m, down a peak in 2008 at £328m, the banking industry body formerly known as APACS revealed.

"Reasons behind this decrease include the increasing use of sophisticated fraud screening detection tools by retailers and banks," said Katy Worobec, head of fraud control at Financial Fraud Action UK.

The growth in use of fraud prevention measures including MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa by both retailers and card users had also paid dividends, she added.

Total credit card fraud in the UK fell 23% to £233m however, ensuring that that CNP remains responsible for more than half of the frauds.

"Although it's difficult to prove, we think that one of the reasons for this dip in card losses may simply be as a result of fraudsters realising that they can prosper more by targeting foreign-issued cards, particularly those without chip and PIN protection and which currently have stronger currencies that sterling," said Worobec.

"The fact that we've seen a 36% increase in the first half of this year in the amount of fraud being committed on foreign cards issued here in the UK adds some weight to this theory," she added.

Card ID theft rose 23% to £23.9m and a 55% year-on-year increase in online banking fraud totalling £39m, due to criminals targeting customers PCs with malware rather than the banks' own systems.

The increase was not surprising said Mel Morris, CEO of Prevx, "Due to the highly sophisticated and fast-evolving methods of cybercriminals, even the leading anti-malware solutions customers might use will miss nearly 70% of new infections."

Cards such as the Visa Emue card, which comes with a keypad and an embedded screen that allows users to generate a one-off pass code, should provide more security for web-based resellers.

A version of this story appeared on Microscope.


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