Credit card fraud losses hit £535m

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The Independent Online

Card fraud soared by a quarter in 2007, the Association for Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) has reported. In total, some £535m was lost to criminals during the year.

Fraud based on stealing and counterfeiting UK cards and then using them abroad accounted for more than £200m of the total and was up 77 per cent on the previous year.

Instances of counterfeit or stolen cards being used to buy items over the phone, internet and from mail- order companies also rose sharply.

Overall, the sharp rise in fraud is a surprise considering that the banking industry and retailers have spent more than £1bn converting the UK to chip and pin. However, it does seem that the technology is still an effective deterrent on the high street: the level of card fraud carried out in UK shops is currently running at around a third of the losses that existed before the introduction of chip and pin.

Sandra Quinn from Apacs said: "Although card crime levels have now begun to go up again due to fraud abroad and 'card-not-present' fraud losses, chip and pin has proved to be an undoubted success in reducing the problem on the UK high street."

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