Winners and losers in European card fraud

Using data from Euromonitor International, FICO’s interactive map shows fraud from 2006-2011 in 21 European countries. Five categories of fraud are included: counterfeit cards, card stolen or lost, card not present, card stolen or lost in the post, and ID fraud. Details are shown for both Europe as a whole and the individual countries. 

Overall, fraud peaked in 2008, decreased until 2010, but has started to increase again. But FICO makes the point that current levels are still much higher than in 2006 – except for the UK. “Payment card fraud in Europe increased after 2006, peaking in 2008,” said Martin Warwick of FICO. “However, 2011 levels are still high, at €121 million more than in 2006.” But, he added, “A notable exception is the UK, which accounted for 45 percent of the total in 2006 and now accounts for 29 percent, a reduction of €177 million. Criminals have shifted their focus to new opportunities within Europe, as anti-fraud measures in the UK become stricter.” The UK shows a downward trend of 30%.

The other obvious development is the rise of ‘card-not-present’ fraud as criminals migrate to online card fraud – except, again, in the UK. Here CNP has returned from its peak in 2008 to approximately the same level as 2006. It’s not the same in Germany, where CNP fraud has increased year on year since 2006; a total increase of 340 percent. Fraud in general, says FICO, “has increased by 9 percent since 2006 but Germany has seen fraud increase by 149 percent, showing that fraudsters identified a great opportunity to target a country which has a large number of plastic cards.”

“The rise of chip and PIN protection has spurred migration to CNP fraud,” said Warwick, “where criminals make use of internet channels that carry less risk than attempting fraudulent purchase in a shop. Response to this CNP threat has been slow, but, he added, “increased adoption of the 3D Secure protocol – which is used in Verified by Visa and SecureCode by MasterCard for online transactions, and which American Express is now joining – should make a difference.”

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