The UK has the highest level of fraud in Europe, and the nation's fastest-growing problem is identity fraud.
That was the claim made by APACS, the umbrella body for the UK banking industry, at a PKF event in London last week.
According to the organisation, identity fraud, whether company or individual, grew by 45 per cent in 2003, and card not present (CNP) fraud grew by six per cent. However, the number of crimes committed using counterfeit credit cards actually fell by 28 per cent over the year.
APACS has claimed £110.1m was lost to CNP fraud in 2002, compared with £13.6m in 1998.
"There are plenty of initiatives out there to combat fraudsters, but fraudsters are always going to look at new ways to commit crime," said Riten Gohil, risk management executive at APACS.
The organisation is heavily promoting various initiatives, including Chip and PIN, the Address Verification Service and Card Security Code scheme, and the recent 3D Secure scheme, where card readers are issued to users to combat online card fraud. Gohil said channel players can get involved with the schemes through their banks.
"I would advise that they do this sooner rather than later to prevent being hit," he said.
Earlier this year consultancy firm KPMG revealed in its Forensic Fraud Barometer report that major cases of fraud were on the increase, particularly in the IT industry.
Nitin Joshi, partner at PKF, said it is especially prevalent in the channel. "The channel is full of fraud and we are going to see more of it, whether CNP or company identity theft. It is imperative that VARs get their front offices in order and implement a thorough screening process to avoid becoming victims," he said.
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