Criminals are resorting to old fashioned scams to trick people out of their cash due to the success of hi-tech methods to tackle debit and credit card fraud, police warned today.
Total fraud losses on UK cards fell to £169.8 million between January and June 2011 - a 9% drop on the same period last year, according to figures from trade body the UK Cards Association.
Online banking fraud losses totalled £16.9 million during January to June 2011 - a massive 32% drop on the same half-year figure for 2010.
Those behind the figures said developments in chip and pin technology, card reading devices for online banking, and fraud detection software have helped the new half-year overall total to become the lowest for 11 years.
Cash machines and cards have also been enhanced to make it harder to "skim" magnetic stripe details from genuine cards.
But lost and stolen card fraud losses rose by 20%, from £21.3 million in the first half of 2010 to £25.7 million in the same period this year.
Phone banking fraud losses also rose to £8.6 million, a 48% increase, during January to June 2011.
Scams ranged from distracting people in shops or at cash machines and then stealing their cards, to simply tricking them into handing over their cards and PINs.
DCI Paul Barnard, head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, 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 - and that includes bank customers who, as their own front-line of defence, have certainly played their part too.
"However, 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."
The National Fraud Authority estimated that fraud in all its guises costs the UK more than £38 billion a year.
Card and banking fraud only accounts for 1.2% of this figure.