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EDITIONS
Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 10:27 GMT
Christmas fraud warning
Two credit cards
Fraud involving lost or stolen cards costs 109m
Credit card customers are too lax with their security, making them fraud targets, a new survey reveals.

Although most customers are aware of the dangers posed by fraudsters most take little preventive action and many do not even check their card statements.

Fraud is still on the rise and much of it is simply going undetected by consumers

Lynda Kershaw, Macro 4 group product manager

Macro 4, a financial business information and software company, which commissioned the survey of 1,000 adults, warned consumers to be extra vigilant at Christmas.

Credit and debit card fraud has increased by 53% during the past two years, with organised criminal gangs being blamed for the rise.

The cost to individuals and banks of credit and debit card fraud is nearly 430m each year according to the Association for Payment Clearing Services (Apacs).

Card skimming

The most common type of card fraud is the use of counterfeit cards in shops. Fraudsters are believed to get away with 161m using this method.

Avoiding credit card fraud tips
Guard your cards. Do not let them out of your sight when making a transaction.
Check your receipts against your statements carefully.
Do not carelessly discard receipts from card transactions.
Never write down your Pin and never disclose it to anyone.
Report lost or stolen cards or suspected fraudulent use of your card immediately
Source: Apacs Cardwatch

The most common type of counterfeiting is called skimming, where the data on a card's magnetic stripe is electronically copied and used to make an illegal copy of a genuine card.

Fraud involving lost or stolen cards costs 109m.

The industry hopes that the introduction in 2003 of chip cards and the personal identification number (Pin) payment system in the UK will lead to a significant reduction in most types of card fraud.

But if consumers do not check their card statements then the new technology may go to waste.

The survey revealed that nearly half of credit card holders either do not bother to open their statements or give them only a cursory glance.

As a result, many Christmas shoppers will fail to notice fraudulent payments on their cards, the survey concludes.

And 45% of the adults surveyed admitted that they do not bother to retain credit card receipts for cross-checking against statements.

"Despite all the investment going on to make credit cards more secure, fraud is still on the rise and much of it is simply going undetected by consumers," Lynda Kershaw, group product manager at Macro 4 said.

See also:

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04 Nov 02 | UK
24 Sep 02 | England
09 Aug 02 | Business
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