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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2006, 00:04 GMT
Online banking fraud rises fast
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Phishing for bank customers has boomed this year
A surge in "phishing" in the first half of 2006 has produced a sharp rise in the amount of money being lost to online banking fraud.

Phishing involves using fake websites to lure people into revealing their bank account numbers.

The number of recorded incidents rose 16-fold to 5,059, said the Association of Payment Clearing Services (APACS).

That led to a 55% rise in losses from online fraud against banks, reaching 23m in the first half of 2006.

However, the amount of money lost to credit and debit card fraud fell again.

Apacs said this was due to the continued impact of the new chip-and-pin cards.

Plastic card fraud in the first half of 2006 was down 5% on a year ago, at 209m, with losses due to cards that were stolen in the post being more than halved.

"These latest fraud figures show that the industry's efforts are making their mark," said Sandra Quinn of Apacs.

Chip-and-pin

Chip-and-pin cards were introduced by the banking industry in 2004 in an attempt to combat the rapid rise in fraud using plastic cards.

Credit and debit fraud peaked that year at just over half a billion pounds.

But it then fell by 13% during the whole of 2005 and these latest figures show a further decline.

Despite this, losses due to cards being used in telephone, online or mail order fraud continued to increase.

This type of fraud, where the legitimate card holder is not present, rose by 5% in the first half of the year to 95m.

And fraud using counterfeit cards rose even faster - up by 16% to 53m.

Apacs said the main factor behind this was the fact that criminals continue to copy the details of people's magnetic strips - known as skimming - to create fake cards.

These are then used at ATMs and tills in the UK that have not been upgraded to chip-and-pin or are used abroad.




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