Revealed: Internet and phone are media of choice for fraudsters

The internet and phone networks are now the vehicles for more than half of all fraud committed on UK bank accounts, the UK's payments industry association...

The internet and phone networks are now the vehicles for more than half of all fraud committed on UK bank accounts, the UK's payments industry association Apacs said today.

The news comes after the government announced it would spend £7m to set up a special police unit to tackle e-crime. The banking industry already pays for a dedicated card and cheque fraud police force, the DCPCU.

Payment card fraud losses rose 14% to £302m in the first six months of 2008, with 40% of frauds that involve UK bank accounts committed overseas, Apacs said.

"Card not present" fraud, typically committed using internet, phone and mail order, was up 18% to £162m, while card ID theft was up 2% to just over £19m.

"These losses need to be seen in the context of increasing numbers of online retailers and ever-growing numbers of online transactions," said Sandra Quinn, Apacs director of communications.

"From 2001 to 2007 this type of fraud went up by 204%, but over the same time period the value of online shopping card transactions alone increased by 415%."

Online banking fraud losses were up 185% to £21m, and cheque fraud losses up by 35% to £20m, she said.

Quinn said the rise in online bank fraud was the result of more phishing and spam attacks on account holders. More than 20,000 fraudulent phishing websites were recorded in the first half of 2008 - an increase of more than 180% from the same period last year.

Quinn said the overseas frauds involved criminals who used cards cloned from information on the magnetic stripe of stolen UK cards. They presented the cloned cards at cash machines and retailers in countries that have yet to upgrade to chip and PIN. These include the US.

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