Beware: credit card fraud rates increasing

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Credit and charge card fraud rates increased in 2007, as more dollars were lost to fraudulent overseas online merchants, according to the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA).

According to APCA's newly released payments fraud data, payment card fraud that is debit, credit and charge cards, increased from 23.9 cents in every $1,000 in 2006 to 27.9 cents in 2007.

Credit and charge card fraud (signature permitted and card-not-present) fraud increased from 36.9 cents to 44.5 cents in every $1,000 while debit card fraud dropped from 7.7 cents to 7.1 cents in every $1,000.

The report found the largest component of Australia’s credit and charge card fraud relates to card-not present (CNP) fraud and cross-border fraud activity which includes fraud conducted over the Internet, phone, mail and fax.

APCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Chris Hamilton said Australia’s payment card fraud rate has increased over the last 12 months but remains low by global standards.

“The UK’s payment card fraud rate is the equivalent of $1.18 in every $1,000 as against slightly under 28 cents in Australia,” Hamilton said.

"[However] what the statistics are telling us is that even as today’s technology makes it possible to buy anything from anywhere, it is also making it possible for fraudsters to operate globally," he said.

Hamilton warned: "It’s no surprise that Australian consumers and retailers need to take particular care when not dealing face-to-face.”

Commenting on the data, the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) said cheque fraud has declined to very low levels, debit card fraud is also at low levels but credit and charge card fraud is showing an increase.

Around 70 percent of the increase in credit card and charge card fraud has been driven by Australian card holders making purchases overseas via the Internet and telephone, claimed the ABA.

According to David Bell, chief executive at the ABA, customers are increasingly shopping online from overseas retailers and unfortunately some of these outlets may not have strong customer protections in place.

“Fraud prevention remains more than ever a priority for the industry," said APCA’s Hamilton.
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