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Brighton Declared Card Fraud Capital of the UK

CPPGroup : 19 January, 2011  (Technical Article)
As the top five fraud hotspots in the UK are revealed, CPP Group provides advice on how to avoid bank card fraud
The annual Card Fraud Index released  from life assistance company CPP has named Brighton as the card fraud capital of the country. With the south coast city jumping from tenth place in the number of people falling victim at least once to card fraud.

The top five card fraud hotspots in the UK are Brighton (38 per cent), London (34 per cent), Manchester (33 per cent), Bristol and Leeds at joint fourth place (32 per cent) and Edinburgh (31 per cent).   

But there is some good news. 2010 saw a three per cent reduction in the number of card fraud incidences with seven per cent of people saying they had suffered from card fraud in the last 12 months compared to 10 per cent in 2009. However, card fraud is still a problem and people need to remain vigilant and take responsibility when using their cards.

The Card Fraud Index also reveals the methods criminals are using, with most victims (20 per cent) having the magnetic stripe on their card cloned at an ATM or via a Chip and PIN machine. This is a three per cent increase on 2009. One in five victims have been defrauded online with criminals using the internet to obtain card details.

Alarmingly a third of card fraud victims (33 per cent) don’t even know how they became a financial victim, with a third hearing directly from their bank (34 per cent) and six per cent being refused money at an ATM. A further six per cent found out when their card was refused at point of sale.

Victims of card fraud reported the average amount stolen was £417 with one in 20 (four per cent) reporting losses of more than £2,000.

Although card fraud has decreased year-on-year, consumers are still practicing behaviour that could put them at risk. 18 per cent don’t check ATMs to see if they have been tampered with, 17 per cent don’t shield their PIN numbers at cash points and most worryingly 16 per cent admit to letting their cards out of sight in shops and restaurants. Moreover, consumers take an average of more than eight hours to report their cards lost or stolen, giving ample time for fraudulent use.

Sarah Blaney, card fraud expert at CPP, said: “In 2010 we saw a three per cent decrease in card fraud incidents in the UK compared to the previous year.  This in itself is good news and shows how progress is being made to reduce the number of victims.  In particular, online fraud has decreased, which could be a result of industry initiatives such as Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.

“We are also continuing to see consumers protecting themselves with preventative measures such as Card Protection policies that immediately cancels lost and stolen cards. However, with card fraud costing the UK £440 million a year, consumers still need to remain vigilant and not let their guard down. We want to see the continued decrease in card fraud and hope that consumers will take responsibility alongside industry initiatives.”

Dr Bernard Herdan, CEO, NFA said:  "The ongoing decrease in card fraud is a very positive sign that industry safety measures and consumers ability to self-protect are improving.  However, it is important to remind consumers not to become complacent about taking precautions when using credit and debit cards". 

Top tips from CPP to help avoid being a victim of card fraud:

1)     Don’t carry multiple debit/credit cards in a wallet – only carry the essential cards you need

2)     Don’t leave belongings unattended while shopping

3)     Don’t carry debit/credit cards loose in a bag or pocket

4)     If your cards are registered with a Card Protection company make sure you have their emergency loss reporting number

5)     Don’t ever write down your PIN number

6)     Don’t let a shop assistant take your debit/credit card out of sight – they could be copied or cloned

7)     Don’t let someone else take money out on your behalf

8)     Check your receipts against your statements when you get home

9)     If you are concerned your cards may have been lost or stolen, contact your bank immediately to get the card cancelled

10)  Make sure your bank has up-to-date contact details for you, including your mobile  phone number in case they need to check if transactions are genuine
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