Identity theft and card fraud reach epidemic levels

A survey has found that the majority of people who have lost money as the result of credit card fraud or identity theft blame the retailers and businesses that handle their details for the loss.

1000 London commuters were interviewed in an Infosecurity study, which found that 44 per cent of them had experienced some kind of monetary theft as a result of payment card data and personal information being lost or illicitly obtained by criminals.

On average, consumers who are hit by fraud will lose 1448 each, with more than 37 per cent of those affected unable to secure reimbursement from their banks. This rises still higher for amounts under 100, which are clearly seen by many financial institutions as insignificant.

The survey showed that the blame was rarely placed on banks, with 60 per cent of respondents believing retail firms to be responsible for their loss. A fifth said that direct transactions performed in shops were the means by which their payment card details were stolen, suggesting that PCI DSS regulations are not being followed within many businesses.

Consumers admitted that individual carelessness was a significant cause for many cases of fraud, with 28 per cent blaming themselves. This correlates with the 27 per cent who said that phishing sites had tricked them into giving away sensitive information.

Illegally altered cash machines, online banking attacks and phone con schemes accounted for 15 per cent of fraud cases, and 42 per cent of the theft was incurred when the victims were abroad.

Banks were largely willing to reimburse people who had lost amounts over 5000 as a result of data loss and payment card fraud, with 91 per cent of those in this category getting back all of their money.

The impact of this type of fraud is felt by victims on an ongoing basis, with credit ratings taking a hit as soon as fraud has occurred. It is also habit-altering, as 37 per cent said they no longer used their bank’s online services for fear of further incidents.

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