Bank card holders are being urged to be diligent when using cash machines and exposing their cards in public, following a wave of reported scams that have taken the number of stolen cards to its highest point in almost a decade.
The UK Cards Association identified that the total amount of money lost from stolen cards in 2013 was a sizeable £58.9 million, which represented the highest value it has been at since back in 2006.
Moreover, the total losses incurred increased by 16% in 2013, totalling a monumental £450 million.
The UK Cards Association warned consumers that the most common method utilised by thiefís in order to steal bank cards have been through ëdistractionsí, which typically entail a person asking someone something innocent such as to write down directions on a piece of paper, then capitalising on a brief moment of negligence and stealing the card whilst the holder is distracted.
They have urged customers to proceed with caution if they are subjected to similar activity in the future, warning that ëdistraction crimesí have taken place in variety of different locations, ranging from retail stores, to bars and outside cash points.
They also pointed out that being vigilant is a necessity, because the crimes can often take place so fast that the victim will believe the machine has taken their card, or that they simply have misplaced it.
Worryingly, the UK Cards Association also identified that the area of banking fraud which had raised the most was in mobile phone and online fraud, which have become a highly prominent way of transferring and managing money for a multitude of consumers.
They reported that fraud in this area had soared by a huge 22% in 2013, to £301.1 million, and means that mobile and internet fraud now contribute over 75% of all reported bank card fraud in the UK.
The huge rise in fraud of this kind has been attributed to substantially large proportion of UK consumerís who make purchases online, with Britain being cited as Europeís top internet retail economy.
As such, they are at a greater risk of being defrauded on online and mobile purchases, though the UK Cards Association highlighted that many of the reported cases came from card holders being tricked into giving their details away, rather than from any online hacking techniques.
They highlighted that due to huge improvements made in Chip an Pin security, thiefís had been forced to change tact, and have now resorted to a method called ëvishingí in order to acquire possession of other peoples bank cards.
ëVishingí consists of a bank card holder receiving a phone call from the aspiring thief, who masquerades as someone from their bank who is calling them about suspicious payment patterns.
Though a number of people are wise to this technique and simply hang up the phone, many fail to check whether the caller is legitimate and simply pass on their bank details as if they were talking to someone from their bank.
The UK Cards Association urged consumers to always check the phone number when they receive a call from someone talking about suspicious payment patterns, and ask to call them back to avoid passing their details onto potential fraudsters.
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