UK Online Fraud Up 132 Percent

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A new police e-crime unit will help combat the threat, according to payments industry body

Banking trade body APACS has released figures showing that online fraud in the UK has increased by 132 percent from losses in 2007.

In a report released late last week, detailing total fraud figures across all forms of payments, the UK payments association said Internet only fraud totaled around £52.5m.

Apacs also noted that so-called “card not present fraud” which covers internet, phone and mail order, had increased by 243 percent from 2001 to 2008. But the organisation was also keen to point out that actual transactions in the sector had increased by 524 per cent from £6.6 billion in 2001 to £41.2 billion during the same period.

Phishing has been a particular problem for the banking and payments industry in the past but according to Apacs other forms of malware are also becoming a problem.

“Although phishing incidents continue to increase, online banking customers are increasingly being targeted by malware attacks, which is why the industry continues to remind customers to ensure that they have their computer’s firewall switched on and anti-virus software installed and kept up-to-date,” the organisation stated.

To help combat the growing problem of malware, Apacs said that the recently formed Metropolitan Police Service Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), is helping to coordinate law enforcement in the UK to combat criminal gangs exploiting hacking and malware technology.

“The PCeU will also work with the National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC) to provide an enforcement response to technologically-enabled serious crime, and support other police forces on receiving intelligence data from the NFRC,” Apacs said in a statement.

The payment association defended recent  changes to its infrastructure, designed to speed up processing of online payments: “The new Faster Payments Service is not believed to have impacted last year’s online banking fraud losses. The system was only introduced from the end of May – and the online banking fraud losses in the second half of 2008 more or less match those in the first half of the year,” Apacs stated.