Londoners Suffer Card Fraud Boom; [Pounds Sterling]3m A WEEK LOST IN CAPITAL AS CHIP AND PIN IS INTRODUCED

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

Londoners Suffer Card Fraud Boom; [Pounds Sterling]3m A WEEK LOST IN CAPITAL AS CHIP AND PIN IS INTRODUCED


Byline: JONATHAN PRYNN

THE CAPITAL is in the grip of a credit- and- cash- card fraud boom, with losses soaring 27 per cent to [pounds sterling]3 million a week.

New figures seen by the Evening Standard reveal the cost of card fraud in Greater London rose more than [pounds sterling]33 million to a record [pounds sterling]152.3 million last year.

The biggest increase was in fraud using credit and debit cards stolen in the post - losses were up 54 per cent at [pounds sterling]29.6 million. Thieves have enjoyed a "feeding frenzy" from the mail because of the tens of millions of chip-and-pin cards going out to customers. In August, banks and credit card companies were despatching 300,000 cards a day.

Last year also saw a huge increase in "skimming" - where criminals install devices at cash machines to copy a card's magnetic strip, along with miniature cameras to record people's Pin numbers. The perpetrators then replicate the cards and use them to withdraw thousands of pounds. This fraud is rising by 85 per cent a year.

All other categories of card and identity-related fraud saw an increase.

Losses incurred by counterfeit cards were up 30 per cent to [pounds sterling]48.8 million.

Internet and phone-based fraud was 28 per cent higher at [pounds sterling]25.8 million, and the cost of identity fraud rose 22 per cent to [pounds sterling]12.6 million.

The banking industry insisted the surge represented a "last hurrah" by gangs before the introduction of the chipandpin security system.

Sandra Quinn, director of credit card industry body Apacs, said: "Any fraudster worth his salt knows this is probably the last year he is going to get easy access to cards. …

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