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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 06:59 GMT 07:59 UK
Card fraud shows sharp increase
Photo of chip and pin machine
New technology aims to cut card fraud
Credit and debit card fraud rose by nearly a fifth to 478.8m in the year to July, the Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) has revealed.

Crime involving cards lost or stolen in the post increased by 51%, Apacs said.

All UK banks are replacing their customers' cards as chip and pin fraud-prevention technology rolls out.

An Apacs spokeswoman said criminals were stepping-up their fraudulent activities during the introduction of chip and pin card technology.

Card roll-out

Chip and pin cards aim to cut fraud by including a smart chip, which can store more information than the usual magnetic strips, and also by having users verify transactions by keying in a pin number rather than signing a receipt.

Major areas of card fraud
Counterfeit cards 123m (down 2%)
Card stolen or lost 118.8m (up 11%)
Card not present 138.8m (up 29%)
Card lost or stolen in the post 61.2m (up 51%)
ID fraud 37m (up 66%)
Source: Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs), year to end of June

France pioneered the technology more than 10 years ago - reportedly cutting fraud by almost 50% as a result.

Latest figures from the Chip And Pin Programme show more than 50 million new cards have been sent out to around 25 million of the UK's 42 million card holders.

"Criminals are trying to make the most of the system prior to the completion of the roll-out of chip and pin," Jemma Smith, a spokeswoman for Apacs, told BBC News Online.

"Fraudsters are taking or copying cards then using them in outlets that aren't yet geared up to accept chip and pin."

Apacs is advising cardholders to check their account regularly in order to spot bogus transactions.

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