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Joe Public blames banks for credit card fraud

Will chip and PIN bolster public confidence?

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Over half of all consumers (54%) feel that banks and building societies aren't doing enough to protect them from credit and debit card fraud, according to the results of a survey published today.

Although the survey (conducted last month) didn't quiz members of the public on the Chip and PIN programme, a serious omission in our view, it still provides some insight into public perceptions about credit card fraud.

The chip and PIN system is designed to guard against credit card fraud by requiring customers to tap in a four digit number - rather than signing a payment slip - when paying for their goods. The system is currently on trial in Northampton but will be nationwide by 2005, as credit cards wiith embedded smart cards are issued throughout the UK.

Depending on your point of view, this is either a great leap forward in the fight against fraud or a scheme that will shift the burden of proving fraud has taken place onto consumers while moving criminal scams from the high street onto the Internet.

But we digress.

According to today's survey of UK adults into attitudes towards credit card fraud, Joe Public blames banks - not law enforcement agencies - for a failure to prevent fraud. Card fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK. A record £424.6 million of fraud was committed on UK cards in 2002, up from £411.5 million in 2001, according to UK trade association the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS).

Only seven per cent of the 1,000 respondents to the survey, commissioned by data mining firm SPSS and conducted by market research outfit ICM, have ever been victims of ATM/credit card fraud.

Only 16 per cent of those questioned said that they thought the police have chief responsibility for preventing fraud. And just one in 50 (two per cent) of those quizzed said retailers had to take charge of combating credit card fraud.

The main responsibility for preventing fraud was placed on the shoulders of card issuers i.e. banks and building societies.

Meanwhile only a quarter of respondents (28 per cent) to the study feel enough is being done to identify and deal with fraud in general.

The study was conducted in May, a month after the start of the chip and PIN programme. The effect of the programme on public attitudes to fraud prevention will be an interesting point for subsequent studies.

Shame SPSS didn't think to ask about it though.

SPSS' research is part of the company's ongoing campaign to identify consumer perceptions to fraud, understand the most common security breaches, and help businesses combat the phenomenon. ®

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