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Online gambling has become the number one Internet-related card fraud problem in Europe.

That's according to Europay, Mastercard's European partner, which reckons that 20 per cent of online fraud is related to gambling. Online fraud accounts for five per cent of all UK credit and debit card fraud, which APACS (the Association of Payment Clearing Services) puts at £411 million last year. That's 30 per cent up from losses of £317 million for 2000.

In the case of gambling, crooks obtain cash vie online betting sites after somehow first obtaining details of a cardholder's account. An estimated 300,000 Britons bet online, with numbers expected to grow, particularly with the introduction of interactive television.

To combat the growing problem of online fraud, Europay is rolling out antifraud technology to 11,000 member banks across 43 European countries.

The technology is based on Secure Payment Application and Europay/ Mastercard's Universal Cardholder Authentication Field infrastructure, which is designed to confirm the identity of a consumer online. As interim measures, UK credit and debit card holders may be asked for their billing address or to confirm a three digit security code printed on the signature slip of cards.

Europay is also encouraging member banks to use card spending monitoring tools, which can flag up unusual or suspicious transaction patterns. There also plans for banks to introduce a service where cardholders will receive a text message after transactions are made using their account. ®

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