There was a 25% rise in the fraudulent use of UK credit and debit cards
last year, with losses amounting to £535m, according to the banking industry.
The Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) said the first rise in
three years was mainly due to stolen and counterfeit cards used abroad.
Card fraud overseas rose by 77% last year to £208m, 39% of the total.
But losses also rose as cards were used dishonestly to buy more items over the
phone, internet or by mail order.
It means that fraud where the credit or debit card was "not present" now amounts
to more than half of all card losses, here and abroad, at £291m.
Taken together, all types of card fraud committed within the UK went up
slightly, by 6% to £328m.
But that was still noticeably lower than a few years ago before the introduction
of chipandpin technology.
The absence of this technology in some foreign countries has made the use of
skimmed or cloned cards abroad relatively more attractive to criminals, said
"Although card fraud levels have now begun to go up again due to fraud abroad
and cardnotpresent fraud losses, chipandpin has proven to be an undoubted
success in reducing card fraud on the UK high street," said Sandra Quinn of
"And, as more countries follow our lead and upgrade to chipandpin, the
opportunities for criminals to use our stolen magnetic stripe details overseas
will decrease," she added.
Banks throughout Europe have agreed to bring in chipandpin cards by 2010.
They hope to emulate the success of the industry in the UK where fraud on lost
or stolen cards, including those stolen in the post, has fallen to its lowest
level for ten years.
Handinhand with this has gone a big drop in losses from fraudulent
transactions in shops, stores and supermarkets which, although up very slightly
last year, are still running at a third of the level seen in 2004.
Losses at cash machines are also down, falling by 44% in the past year to £35m.
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