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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 14:53 GMT
Card fraudsters 'targeting web'
Someone using Chip and pin technology
Chip and pin machines are increasingly common
New safeguards on credit and debit card payments in shops has led fraudsters to focus on internet and phone payments, an anti-fraud agency has said.

Anti-fraud consultancy Retail Decisions says 'card-not-present' fraud, where goods are paid for online or by phone, has risen since the start of 2005.

The introduction of 'chip and pin' cards has tightened security for transactions on the High Street.

But the clampdown has caused fraudsters to change tack, Retail Decisions said.

'Vigilance needed'

Fraud doesn't just disappear, it mutates to the next weakest link in the chain
Carl Clump, Retail Decisions chief executive

The introduction of chip and pin cards aimed to cut down on credit card fraud in stores by asking shoppers to verify their identity with a confidential personal pin number, instead of a signature.

Retail Decisions chief executive Carl Clump told the BBC that there was "no doubt" that chip and pin would "reduce card fraud in the card-present environment".

"However, it is important to monitor what happens in the card-not-present environment as fraudsters will turn their attention to the internet, mail order, telephone order and interactive TV," he said.

"We have seen a 22% uplift in card-not-present fraud here in the UK... since the start of the year.

"Fraud doesn't just disappear, it mutates to the next weakest link in the chain," he said.

Replacement cards

Retail Decisions' survey on the implementation of chip and pin found that shoppers had adapted easily to the new system, but that banks' performance in distributing the new cards had been patchy, at best.

"The main issue is that not everyone has the pins they need," said Mr Clump.

Nearly two thirds - 65% - of the 1,000 people interviewed said they had used chip and pin to make payments.

Of these, 83% were happy with the experience, though nearly a quarter said they struggled to remember their pin number.

However, only 34% said they had received replacement cards with the necessary 'chip' technology from all their card providers.

Furthermore, 16% said that none of their cards had been replaced, while 30% said only some had.

UK shoppers spent 5.3bn on plastic cards in 2003, the last full year for which figures are available from the Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs).

Altogether, card scams on UK-issued cards totalled 402.4m in 2003. Card-not-present fraud rose an annual 6% to 116.4m, making it the biggest category even then. Within this, internet fraud totalled 43m, Apacs' figures show.

Stores face card fraud deadline
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