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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005, 00:03 GMT
Crooks turn to online card fraud
Chip and pin machine
Nearly 140 million chip and pin cards are being issued by banks
Card fraud via the internet, phone and mail order has leapt 29% over the past year, the Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) says.

"Card not present" fraud, as it is called, rose 20m to 91m, the majority of this being committed online.

But overall, card fraud totalled 219m in the first half of 2005, down from 252m in the same six months last year.

The recent introduction of chip and pin card technology has been credited for the fall.

Chip and pin

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.

Card fraud statistics
Card not present +29% to 91m
Counterfeiting -31% to 46m
Lost or stolen -27% to 44m
Mail non-receipt - 37% to 23m
ID theft on card accounts -16% to 16m
Source: Apacs

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

Latest figures show the roll out of nearly 140 million new chip and pin cards has almost been completed.

It seems chip and pin is helping in the fight against some types of card fraud in the UK.

For example, fraud involving the stealing and counterfeiting of debit and credit cards has fallen 29% year-on year, Apacs revealed.

However, the group warned that fraudsters have moved onto types of fraud such as internet, mail order and telephone that do not require the card to be present.

"Criminal gangs used to try and copy a card's magnetic strip in order to produce a counterfeit but with the introduction of chip and pin this is less of an option," Sandra Quinn, head of communications at Apacs, told BBC News.

"Instead, what we are seeing are gangs taking note of card details and then using them to shop online."

Ms Quinn called on consumers to guard their card details carefully when out shopping.

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