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Online-savvy Shoppers Still at Risk from Offline Card Fraud

Article date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 15:34 GMT

Neil Lathwood, IT director of UKFast

Card fraudsters are turning their attention back to the High Street as UK consumers show greater concern for the threats online, according to the UK's IT industry.

With CyberSource reporting that 71 per cent of UK consumers are concerned about the safety of online shopping, an industry round table highlighted the ongoing threats offline as a result of cybercrime.

Neil Lathwood, IT director at UKFast, said, "Card fraud is common both online and offline. You have at least the same level of risk buying in a shop or using a cash machine nowadays as you do online. There are even devices which can be hooked up to a card in a cash or a chip and PIN machine which do not require a PIN number."

With card fraud the main focus for criminal activity online, the UK Cards Association revealed that losses due to online banking fraud rose by 14 per cent to £59.7million last year. More secure retail websites and chip and PIN technology, as well as the continuing growth in the use of MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa, did see overall fraud losses on UK cards fall however for the first time since 2006.

With vigilance a security issue across the board, the panel offered their top tips on how to ascertain if an online shop is legitimate to encourage greater trust and spending online:

1. Check for an SSL certificate and that the company that is registered is the one you expected it to be.

2. Check for online reviews of the website.

3. Check for the use of Verified by Visa or similar, or if the website accepts PayPal or Google checkout, as these offer some protection against fraud.

In spite of this focus on cyber security, each member of the panel emphasised the frustrating situation the industry currently faces. As greater prevention methods are implemented, criminals continue to develop more sophisticated ways to target online customers through malware.

Philippe Jan, Cyber Security MSC tutor at Lancaster University, said, "It's an ongoing battle and we're playing catch up. I believe that if we can all be a little bit more aware and hopefully mindful of how we go about things then we will be able to avoid more attacks."

Neil concluded, "It is about educating people how to shop safely and how to use their credit card details securely, and also explaining that card fraud can happen in a shop as it can online."

The round table discussions are held in association with UKFast with the aim of uniting business leaders to share advice and provide a wealth of ideas for other developing companies. The panel was completed by Daniel Fenwick, technical director of Zentek Solutions, and Ian Connolly, managing director of IGC Technical Solutions.

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