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New figures released show that basic frauds, such as distraction
thefts and people being tricked into giving their cards, PINs and
financial passwords to criminals, have contributed to a small
overall increase in card fraud and online banking fraud losses.
Cheque fraud losses have also increased, but phone banking
losses have fallen by a fifth.
According to The UK Cards Association, total fraud losses on UK
cards totalled £185 million between January and June 2012.
This is a 9 per cent increase on losses in the first half of
last year (£169.8 million), but represents a fall of 39% from the
total of £304.2 million in the first half of 2008 when fraud was at
Additionally, card fraud losses as a proportion of the amount we
spent on our cards has actually decreased – from 0.066% during
January to June 2011 to 0.063% during the first half of this
With technology such as chip and PIN helping to deter fraud,
criminals have turned their attention to more straightforward ways
of getting hold of people’s cards and PINs.
This includes distracting people in shops or at cash machines
and then stealing their cards without them noticing, as well as
simply tricking them into handing over their cards and PINs on
their own doorstep.
For example, elderly customers are called by someone claiming to
be from their bank and then being told that their debit or credit
card needs collecting.
From there, they are asked to key in their PIN, following which
a courier is sent by the fraudster to collect the card. Four-fifths
(80%) of consumers surveyed earlier in 2012 felt anyone could be a
potential victim to this fraud, which police warn is on the
Online banking fraud losses totalled £21.6 million during
January to June 2012 – a 28 per cent increase on the 2011 half-year
figure. This has been driven by a huge increase in the number of
phishing websites set up by criminals as part of a scam to trick
customers into visiting these fake websites and disclosing their
online banking login details. Losses in this area also reflect the
trend in card fraud, with deception scams resulting in increases.
Online banking customers are being tricked into divulging their
online login details and passwords over the phone to someone they
believe is from their bank but is actually a fraudster.
Phone banking fraud losses fell to £6.7 million (a 21 per cent
decrease) during January to June 2012. This reduction is partly
down to the fact that criminals are focusing their efforts on
fraudulently accessing accounts online rather than over the
Cheque fraud losses increased from £16.4 million in the first
half of 2011 to £17.9 million during the same period in 2012.
Although this is a nine per cent increase, the overwhelming
majority of this type of fraud is stopped before the cheque is
paid. In fact, £241.3 million of attempted cheque fraud was spotted
and stopped during the clearing process in the first half of this
DCI David Carter, Head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime
Unit (DCPCU) said:
“This increase is due to organised criminal gangs committing
straightforward frauds, and our focus remains on targeting those
responsible and bringing them to justice.
And given this rise in old fashioned crimes – criminals
using distraction techniques and duping people into disclosing
their passwords and online banking details - we are urging everyone
to be on their guard and work with us to help stop this criminal
activity. Your bank or the police will never cold call you or email
you and ask you for your full login details, cards or PINs. If
anyone does, hang up the phone or delete the email.”