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Sharp rise in credit and debit card fraud

Apacs, the UK’s payment services body, has reported that fraud involving UK credit and debit card holders increased by 14% in the six months to the end of June 2008.

Losses totalled £302 million compared with £264 million during the same period of 2007.

Over 40% of the fraud was committed overseas, accounting for £121 million of the total.

Losses involving scams for purchases made by phone, mail order and the Internet rose 18% during the six months, to £162 million.

Online banking fraud increased 185% year-on-year, with a sharp rise in the number of victims of phishing, the process whereby fraudsters extract account details from bank customers using spurious emails.

The number of fake bank websites set up by phishers rose from around 7,000 to over 20,000.

Meanwhile, cash machine fraud rose by 22% to just under £21 million, having previously seen a period of decline.

According to Apacs, the introduction of chip and pin has impacted on fraudsters in the UK but the benefit is being offset by cloned cards that are used overseas.

Spokeswoman, Sandra Quinn, explains that criminals are continuing to target regions where the security benefits of chip and pin are absent, although the system should be in place across Europe by the end of 2010.

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