Online banking fraud surged by 14 percent in 2009, according to the UK Cards Association.
Research by the financial organisation revealed that the losses from online banking fraud totalled £59.7m in 2009. It said the increase was due to criminals using malware to target online banking customers rather than the banks' own systems, which are more difficult to attack.
The research also revealed there was a 16 percent increase in the number of phishing incidents reported during 2009.
"Although online banking fraud losses have shown a year-on-year increase, card fraud remains a main focus of criminal activity," said David Cooper, chairman of the Fraud Control Steering Group.
"However, the industry remains committed to containing and reducing all areas of fraud. To this end, we will continue our partnership approach - working with law enforcement, retailers, consumers and the Home Office - to tackle fraud head-on."
According to Sarah Blaney, card fraud expert from life assistance company CPP, fraudsters are always looking for the next easy target, so web users need to be vigilant.
"The use of online fraud prevention solutions that make card purchases more secure like Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode are making a big contribution to reducing fraud," Blaney added.
Mel Morris, CEO of security firm Prevx, said the availability of banking fraud kits on the web had contributed to the surge in online fraud."These kits allow the purchaser to target PCs anywhere in the world and infect them with a powerful information stealing Trojan (or bot), which monitor all internet activity, recording everything and anything entered or displayed by someone browsing the web," said Morris
By Carrie-ann Skinner