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Four in five of Brits are worried about possible fraud if they use their cards overseas with many (60 per cent) choosing to carry cash instead.

Card cloning tops the list of fraud worries (46 per cent) followed by card not present fraud (42 per cent) among a sample of 1,700 Brits quizzed on behalf of marketing and travel assistance services firm CPP earlier this month. The survey follows recent figures from banking association APACS that show fraud abroad accounts for 39 per cent of theft and fraud on UK-issued cards. International fraud losses rose from £117.1m in 2006 to £207.6m in 2007, a big rise that helped push overall losses up to £535.2m.

Between July 2007 and July 2008, 6,984 incidents of plastic cards being stolen abroad were reported to CPP by distressed Brits. More than a quarter of these cases occurred in Spain (28 per cent), followed by France (13 per cent) and the USA (10 per cent). These figures probably reflect the travelling habits of Brits more than inherent risk. It's also worth noting that people carrying large wads of cash abroad put themselves at higher risk on losing a bundle to pickpockets.

CPP reports that people who use their cards abroad (at cash machines or in shops) often fail to double-check their receipts against card statements when they return home.

Kerry D'Souza, card fraud expert at CPP, said: "Awareness about card fraud abroad is growing but consumers are still not taking the basic security steps needed to protect themselves. Given overseas losses from card fraud was a staggering £207.6m in 2007 and criminals are becoming more ingenious, it is vital that the financial sector continues to educate Brits about the risk it presents and the safety measures they can put in place." ®

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