Debit and credit card fraud on the rise as criminals become high tech

18 July 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
The national crime rate may have dropped by a third year on year, but statistics show that credit and debit card fraud is on the rise as criminals adapt to new ways of committing crime.

The statistics, from payments association, APACS were included in the Home Office's annual crime report for 2007/8 and clearly show a significant increase in card fraud activity.

A 20 per cent increase in fraudulent debit and credit card transactions was reported by APACS between 2006 and 2007, a total of 2.7 million in 2007. In addition, the figures show that total losses as a result of plastic card fraud in the UK totalled £535.2million in 2007.

Of all plastic card fraud, 'card-not-present fraud', which is generally internet and telephone purchases where chip and PIN devices are not in use, has seen the largest rise of 37 per cent since 2006, total losses of £290.5million in 2007.

However, of all card thefts, counterfeit fraud, where criminals use an illegal copy of a genuine credit or debit card has seen the most significant rise of 46 per cent between 2006 and 2007.

Furthermore, it seems, despite the increased threat of identity theft, used to obtain illegal credit and debit cards, Brits are continuously careless with personal and banking details.

According to research from MORE TH>N, almost 30 per cent of people surveyed confessed to writing down there PIN or password in order to remember it, and a further one in five are using the same password for different cards and log ins for things like internet banking.

Surprisingly, considering these statistics, more than two thirds of the UK population admitted to feeling at greater risk of identity theft than they were five years ago, which coincides with APACS' statistics.

Identity fraud can often be detected by obtaining a credit report from a credit agency, because this can show up all cards and accounts applied for, allowing people to distinguish between their accounts and fraudulent accounts.

Talking of MORE TH>N's online system, intended to make the resolution of identity fraud easier, Simon Logan, head of MORE TH>N Law, said: "There are lots of simple steps people can take to minimise the risk of falling victim to identity theft. If you do suffer at the hands of identity crooks our sophisticated online system asks all the relevant questions and generates all the documentation necessary to resolve the situation."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd