So far this year, 26,000 Britons have discovered that fraudsters have set up regular direct debit payments from their bank accounts, according to research from insurer, LV=.
Direct debit fraud occurs when a criminal sets up a payment from a victim’s bank account to pay for a service, such as a mobile phone account.
Over the last four years, reports of such incidents have rocketed (from 6,200 in 2006) and today’s victim loses £540 on average before realising their bank account has been hijacked.
The increase has been driven by the introduction of Chip and PIN which has made it harder to make use of stolen credit or debit cards.
In 2009 the number of “traditional” card fraud cases fell by 4% as fraudsters changed tactics, while direct debit fraud now accounts for around 10.6% of all identity fraud cases.
The study, which was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of LV=, is predicting that the problem is set to grow to 41,000 cases a year, by 2013.