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Online shopping fraud down in first half of 2011

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Online shopping fraud has fallen to its lowest level for at least five years, according to new figures out this week.

Financial Fraud Action UK figures showed that fraud arising from card-not-present transactions, which include online shopping as well as mail order and phone fraud, fell to £109.2m in the six months to the end of June. That’s 8% down on the same period last year, when card-not-present fraud brought losses of £118.2m and well down on the £137m seen in this area in 2007 and the £163.9m seen in 2008.

In total, card fraud in the six months fell to £169.8m, down 9% on last year’s £186.8m, while that carried out in the UK fell to £130.4m, down 4% on last year’s £135.2m. The balance was in the fraudulent use of UK cards overseas.

The fall in ecommerce fraud is put down to measures including the increased uptake of the data protection measures required through the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and the use of online screening measures such as MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa.

DCI Paul Barnard, head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), the special police squad which is sponsored by the banking industry and has an ongoing brief to help stamp out organised payment fraud across the UK, said: “Losses are appreciably lower than they were a few years ago and everyone involved in tackling fraud has reason to be encouraged by this.”

However there was a rise in fraudulent use of lost or stolen cards, up by 20%, and in cards missing in the mail, up by 42%.

DCI Barnard also added: “There has been an increase in old fashioned scams – criminals using distraction techniques and social engineering methods to get hold of people’s cards or phone banking details. We are urging everyone to be on their guard.”

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