Phishing scams on the riseBut overall credit card fraud is falling

07 November 2006

A pair of credit cards and a mouse

Banks have reported steep rise in attempts to steal customers' personal data online.

Computer users are being warned to take extra care over whom they give their credit card and other details to.  The banks say there's been a massive rise in online computer fraud where crooks send out emails that appear to be from a bank or a genuine company operating on the internet - a practice known as 'phishing'.

The emails urge you to click on a link to a bogus website that may look like a bank’s genuine site. You're then asked to enter your personal security information which fraudsters can use to access bank accounts. Between January and June this year there were more than 5,000 phishing frauds, compared with just 312 in the first six months of 2005.

Credit card fraud

On the positive side, Apacs, the payment association which represents banks and credit card companies, says chip and Pin technology has helped cut the total amount lost in card fraud in the first six months of 2006.

Around £209.3 million was lost up to June this year - 5 per cent less than the same period last year and 17 per cent less than the 2004 figures.

Apacs spokeswoman Sandra Quinn said: ‘These latest fraud figures show that the industry's efforts are making their mark. However, each and every one of us can also help defeat the fraudsters, and protect our cards and online accounts, by keeping our Pins, passwords and personal information safe and secure.’

Online precautions

Which? has published a report on how to protect your personal details online. It tells you what precautions to take when entering your details into a website, how to make your internet browser work for you.

Meanwhile internet retailers are predicting that online spending will hit £7 billion in the ten week run-up to Christmas.

The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) is confident online shoppers will splash out 40 per cent more than last year and estimates that 180 million online shopping deliveries will be made before Christmas.

IMRG Chief Executive James Roper said: ‘The internet has become the most reliable way to shop. With real-time product availability becoming the norm at leading e-retailers, consumers can tick off their shopping lists with certainty rather than pinning their hopes on pounding the pavements.’