Consumers are often very concerned about the risk of fraud on their debit and credit cards, and new data shows that there are a number of troubling trends on the rise.
Instances of credit and debit card fraud increased in some categories across the U.S. in the period between January 2010 and September 2011, according to new research from the credit reporting bureau FICO's Falcon Fraud Consortium. While only about 1 percent of credit and debit cards issued around the world are hit by fraud, those consumers who find themselves victimized often suffer considerably as a result.
"More online shopping has created a shift towards more online fraud, which is proving to be a popular, relatively safe and anonymous means for fraudsters to exploit any weakness in fraud systems," said Doug Clare, vice president of product management at FICO. "Consumers and issuers should remain diligent when using cards for point of sale and ATM transactions."
For instance, the amount of card-not-present credit card fraud - that is, accounts that are ripped off with transactions made online, through the mail or by telephone, rather than by the crook presenting the card in person - rose at twice the rate of counterfeit use, the report said. This is likely due to criminals recognizing that card-not-present fraud gives them a greater chance to cover their tracks and otherwise avoid being discovered. These transactions accounted for more total fraud both in terms of dollar value and the overall number of bogus transactions, but fell short of counterfeit fraud in terms of the average cost per compromised account.
Meanwhile, the amount of losses as a result of debit card fraud increased more significantly than did their credit counterparts, largely the result of 15 percent more authorization of these purchases, as well as more prevalent use of skimming techniques, the report said. Interestingly, though, about 11 cents of every dollar lost to this type of fraud was spent overseas.
Consumers who are worried about instances of credit and debit card fraud affecting their finances may want to make sure they check their monthly statements and bills regularly for any sign of transactions that were completed without their knowledge. Often, it's easier to clear up fraud on credit accounts than on debit cards, because of the time limits banks place for reporting bogus purchases on the latter payment type.