Friday, October 3, 2008

APACS announces latest fraud figures - - 25 Sep 2008

Plastic card fraud losses up 14% to £301.7m in first six months of 2008

Fraud abroad accounts for 40% of total card fraud losses

Online banking fraud losses up by 185% to £21.4m

Cheque fraud losses up by 35% to £20.4m

Figures released today (01 October 2008) by APACS, the UK payments association, show that total card fraud losses increased by 14 per cent in the six months to June 2008 compared with the first half of 2007. Total card fraud losses for this period now stand at £301.7m, of which more than 40 per cent is the result of fraud abroad - which typically involves criminals using stolen UK card details at cash machines and retailers in countries that have yet to upgrade to chip and PIN.

Chip and PIN has made it more difficult for fraudsters to commit card fraud in the UK, with losses at UK retailers down by 35 per cent since 2005 (£73.2m during January to June 2005 compared with £47.4m during January to June 2008). The latest figures also reveal that fraud on lost and stolen cards (£27.3m) has fallen by 38 per cent in the past three years – and is now at its lowest level for ten years.

However, criminals continue to target UK-issued cards, copying the magnetic stripe data and creating counterfeit magnetic stripe cards that can potentially be used fraudulently in countries that haven’t yet upgraded to chip and PIN. This has caused a 190 per cent increase in losses abroad over the last three years, which now total £121.2m. This type of fraud will become more difficult to commit when the European banking industry meets its target to complete its chip card rollout by 2010.

Losses from phone, internet and mail order shopping fraud have continued to increase year-on-year – albeit at a decreasing rate – and now stand at £161.9m, 54 per cent of all card fraud losses. However these losses need to be seen in the context of increasing numbers of online retailers and ever-growing numbers of online transactions – from 2001 to 2007 this type of fraud went up by 204 per cent whilst, over the same time period, the value of online shopping card transactions alone increased by 415 per cent*.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS says:

"Criminals continue to target those areas where we do not currently have the security benefits of chip and PIN, causing increases in fraud abroad and phone, internet and mail order shopping fraud. Fraud abroad will be made more difficult for criminals to commit as more countries rollout chip and PIN.

For Data visit -

"To help tackle online fraud, we continue to urge shoppers to: protect their computer with up-to-date anti-virus software; only use secure websites; and register with MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa when prompted – as these systems make cards more secure when shopping online. APACS is launching a new campaign later this month – Be Card Smart Online – which is aimed at providing further guidance and advice to help consumers stay safe online."

Online banking fraud losses totalled £21.4m during the six months to June 2008 – a 185 per cent rise on the 2007 figure. Although this increase seems marked, it is in keeping with a gradual increase seen from the second half of last year, when online banking fraud losses increased to £15.1m (during July to December 2007). The increase is largely due to criminals targeting online banking customers through phishing and spyware scams - because the banks’ own systems have proved difficult to attack.

The number of recorded phishing attacks continues to increase, with more than 20,000 fraudulent phishing websites set up in the first half of 2008 – an increase of more than 180 per cent from the same period last year.

Online banking fraud losses, phishing incidents and money mule adverts - visit

Any fraud losses through the faster payments channel would form part of these online banking fraud figures. However, the new service only launched with a gradual rollout, which commenced on 27 May.

Help and advice about preventing all types of online banking fraud is available at

Cheque fraud losses during January to June 2008 rose 35 per cent, from £15.1m to £20.4m. However, these losses still remain relatively low compared with other fraud types.

* CNP fraud losses were £95.7m in 2001; £290.5m in 2007. Value of online shopping card transactions: £6.6bn in 2001; £34bn in 2007.

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