Losses related to card fraud and online banking fraud in the U.K. increased over the first half of this year, as phishing attacks and "distraction thefts" both increased, according to a new report from the U.K. Cards Association.
According to the association, total fraud losses on U.K. cards totaled £185 million between January and June of 2012. That figure is a 9 percent increase on losses from the first half of last year, but represents a fall of 39 percent from the total of £304.2 million in the first half of 2008 when fraud was at its peak.
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, said the association, including distracting people in shops or at ATM machines and then stealing their cards without them noticing, as well as simply tricking them into handing over their cards and PINs at their home. An example of this given by the association is a type of attack where 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.
The association also reported that online banking fraud losses were £21.6 million during January to June 2012 -- a 28 percent 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, according to the association.
However, the report also found that phone banking fraud losses actually fell by 21 percent, as criminals target other areas of fraud.