[12/03/2011] Credit and debit card decreases by 17%
The fear that the recession would lead to a spike in many types of non-violent crime might have not been justified, at least when it comes to debit and credit card fraud, which saw a 17% drop compared to last year. Although this comes as a welcomed surprise by many, the reasons behind this drop are still not entirely clear. Some claim that the stricter and better security measures that the banks and some of the large retailers put in place made a huge difference, while others believe that the newer cards, which are equipped with chips are simply far more difficult to clone. The facts are that although the credit card cloning (transferring the information from one card to an empty card) is less common than a year ago, the mail interception of debit and credit card is at all time high and 22% higher than the past twelve months.
Another reason for fewer cards falling into the hands of criminals might be the increased awareness – a number of campaigns, aimed at informing the public about the cons and schemes that criminals employ to steal their financial details might have actually paid off. Most credit and debit cards users are cautious when offered help at the ATMs, do not easily reveal sensitive information to strangers over the phone or in person, and are taking measures to keep their personal identification numbers stored safely. The online fraud level remained unchanged on a year-to-year basis and although the number of online phishing attacks has increased, the losses uncured by cards stolen online stayed the same.
Despite the good news, detectives are stating that the simplest steps that a person could take in order to stay protected, are often the most effective. By simply covering your PIN when withdrawing cash from the ATMs, not responding to spam email messages, and not trusting strangers that call you on the phone, you could protect yourself from identity theft. The fewer stolen debit and credit cards could also help the banks and the card issuers not only combat crime more successfully, but also if the trend remains positive, it could allow them to lower the fees on some of the services that they offer.
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