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The founder of an anti-fraud website has himself become the victim of credit card fraud. Andrew Goodwill, managing director of Early Warning UK, a scheme set up to help retailers avoid credit card fraud, is down $600 (£329) after crooks used his credit card to pay for services online.

Far from being embarrassed by becoming a victim of a credit card fraud, Goodwill reckons his case illustrates the ease of card misuse. “This can happen to anyone. I was shocked when I found that someone had spent $600 on one of my cards to pay for online poker in the States. This shows that no-one is immune whether they’re the head of a major bank or a fraud prevention company,” he said.

The card number that was copied was for an online account with Egg which Goodwill took out for the free balance transfer facility. “The statements are online and because I needed a password I just didn’t look. It wasn’t until I queried another matter on my normal current account that I saw that the monthly minimum payment to Egg had doubled.”

“It is so easy for criminals to generate credit card numbers by downloading special software that provides them with the means to produce 50,000 numbers in just 30 seconds. No-one can find the fraudsters, and they get the goods without having to pay for them.”

Egg, which has issued Goodwill with a new card, is investigating the suspected fraud. “People must look at their statements regularly whether they’re on paper or online, because the sooner you spot fraud the better, and the less likely that the consumer will have to pay,” Goodwill said.

CNP (Cardholder Not Present) fraud in the UK has grown nearly 50 times between 1994 and 2003 to £116.4 million. Goodwill wants the government to recognise the seriousness of this crime which is costing companies and the public £440 million a year. ®

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