£4.1bn stolen as a result of credit card fraud

One in five (22%) people have fallen victim to credit card fraud in the last year, with an estimated £4.1bn having been stolen from 11.4 million consumers, research has found.

comparethemarket.com’s Credit Card Fraud Index revealed that many people who had their credit cards compromised had significant sums of money stolen. In almost half (45%) of fraud cases, consumers found themselves out of pocket, with hackers stealing an average of £801 per person.

Latest figures found that online sales now account for 17% of total UK retail sales, with hackers taking advantage of online sales events, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

However, the index indicated that consumers are not taking the necessary steps to protect themselves, as nearly a fifth (19%) of people who had been hacked admitting that they do not possess a backup credit card, in the event that something should happen to prevent them from accessing their account.

Although credit card fraud activity is high, consumer awareness of the issue remains low.

In 34% of cases, people who had their accounts compromised were not aware of, or could not remember how the hack occurred. Similarly, in just under a third of cases, banks did not alert people to the fact they had been hacked, which suggests that, in some cases, security levels may be somewhat lax.

As a result of their credit card being compromised, 41% of people say they are now more cautious above saving their details online, and 48% claimed to now check their online bank accounts more frequently. Although, only 6% of people who were hacked have proceeded to change their credit card provider following the attack, whilst almost three quarters (74%) of people have not considered, or have no intention, of switching accounts.

Commenting, comparethemarket.com director Simon McCulloch said: “As more and more people choose to shop online, our money is made increasingly vulnerable to sophisticated cyber criminals. Cyber Monday is a peak time for hackers. Banks and retailers must do their best to protect customers from fraud, not least because data compromises can lead to customers voting with their feet and switching accounts.

“That said, people should not depend entirely on their bank’s security system, but should instead take decisive steps to protect themselves – such as having multiple passwords and checking their online credit card banking accounts regularly. Having a backup credit card ensures you are still able to make purchases, even if another account is frozen by fraud.

“It’s important to note that, provided you have not been negligent, transactions made with a credit card are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, so if you are victim of fraud for a purchase worth over £100, then you should be able to get your money back.”

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