Online fraud declines as tighter web security sees crooks resort to retro methods

Cybercriminals drop the 'cyber'...
Written by Shelley Portet, Contributor

Cybercriminals drop the 'cyber'...

Online security

As online security improves, fraudsters are looking to steal money and personal details elsewherePhoto: Shutterstock

Initiatives such as chip and PIN are forcing fraudsters to give up on high-tech scams and resort to more traditional methods of committing financial crimes, according to a report by fraud prevention group Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK).

The FFA UK released figures which show that while UK losses from online banking and card fraud fell in the first half of this year, losses from cheque and phone banking fraud rose.

According to the report, advances in fraud-protection technology are making it harder for criminals to hack into bank accounts and steal details online.

Losses accrued from online banking fraud between January and June 2011 were 32 per cent lower than losses from the same period of the previous year. According to FFA UK, this reduction is caused by a rise in consumer awareness of computer security and improved fraud-detection software used by banks.

Similarly, total fraud losses on UK cards in the first half of this year are nine per cent lower than the first half of 2010.

However, as criminals find it increasingly difficult to obtain our banking details online, they are returning to more traditional scams.

Telephone fraud increased by 48 per cent from last year with more criminals tricking customers into revealing their bank details over the phone.

Losses from cheque fraud also increased from the previous year, up by 17 per cent.

DCI Paul Barnard, head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), said in a statement that significant advances had been made in tackling fraud with bank customers contributing as the "front line of defence".

"However, there has been an increase in old-fashioned scams - criminals using distraction techniques and social engineering methods to get hold of people's cards or phone banking details," Barnard warned.

"We are urging everyone to be on their guard," he added.

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