Money fraudsters appear to be turning away from online and card fraud, instead relying on older methods to steal money.
The Cards Association has revealed that losses from card and online fraud fell last year, but that losses from online banking and cheque fraud increased.
It suggests that as banks and consumers are becoming savvier with their online banking and chip-and-PIN, con artists are turning to simpler ways of parting people from their money.
Fraud losses on UK cards fell 7% from £365.4 million in 2010 to £341 million in 2011, resulting in a three-year reduction of nearly 45%, with losses at their lowest level since 2000.
The UK Cards Association says this welcome trend has been driven by the industry's efforts to deter, detect and prosecute fraudsters, with recent initiatives including: sign-up by retailers and consumers to online protection initiatives such as MasterCard SecureCode, Verified by Visa and American Express SafeKey.
The fall in online banking fraud was even more pronounced, down by 24% from £46.6 million to £35.4 million, as banks have adopted sophisticated online fraud detection programmes.
But the trend is reversed when it comes to cheques and telephone banking.
Telephone banking fraud losses rose from £12.7 million in 2010 to £16.7 million in 2011 (an increase of 32%). Most losses involve customers being duped by criminals, using fake emails or cold calling, into disclosing their personal security details such as telephone banking passcodes.
And cheque fraud losses rose from £29.3 million in 2010 to £34.3 million during 2011 (an increase of 17%). This rise is mainly from an increase in fraudsters stealing genuine cheques and altering the payee name or using details from genuine cheques to create counterfeits.
"As technological advances have made our payments more secure, we've seen a spike in more simplistic crimes," said DCI Paul Barnard of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit
"Many scams involve customers being conned into handing over their cards and PINs, or their telephone banking security details by someone calling, pretending to be their bank or police.
"Our appeal to the public is to be wary of any unsolicited phone calls or emails - never hand over your card and PIN or bank security details in full as neither your bank or the police will ever ask you for these."
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