[11/03/2011] Online bank fraud on the increase
Although debit and credit card fraud has decreased by almost 20% on a year-to-year basis, online bank fraud keep rising and is still a major cause for concern. Despite the numerous campaigns, whose sole goal was to increase drastically the awareness amongst the bank users, many of them are still falling victims of scrupulous hi-tech criminals. Online banking is a great convenience for all of us and allows us to transfer money from our accounts, pay certain bills, check out our credit and debit card statements, and follow the state of our bank accounts. However, many consumers, who are not computer savvy, fail to take even simple precautions when being online and let sensitive information fall into the wrong hands.
While banks and the police have had their fair share of success by introducing greater security measures to prevent cards from being cloned and copied at the ATMs, they seem to be lagging behind the criminals, who are using newer and ingenious new schemes today. One of the most popular methods of stealing sensitive financial information is by phishing, which entails sending thousands and often hundreds of thousands email messages to unsuspected online bank users. While these messages appear to be sent from a genuine bank or card issuer, they lead their victims to fraudulent websites, where they are asked for the card number, PIN, or username and passwords. This allows the scam artists to clone the credit card or simply make online purchases right away, without the card owner even realizing it.
However, the overall numbers are showing some encouraging trends since mail card interception has dropped by 32%, unauthorized card purchases of items online or over the phone also dropped by 19%, and the introduction of chip-and-pin has caused a further 11% drop in the misuse of stolen or lost credit cards. The Verified by Visa and MasterCard secure code systems, introduced by the two largest card issuers, have also made the card purchases far more secure since both systems ask the consumer to enter a second code when a purchase is about to be made. In the UK, consumers are well protected and liable for the incurred loss only if they have been grossly negligent, however, having your financial and or personal information in the hands of criminals could go beyond the monetary loss and this calls for higher vigilance. The main goal of the security experts is to educate the consumers, which is likely to reduce greatly the online bank fraud levels.
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