UK has the second highest number of credit card fraud cases in Europe, study shows

·Contributor
·3-min read
fraud MasterCard logo on a credit card and a laptop keyboard are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on December 1, 2021. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Britain were second only to Ireland in terms of countries in Europe who are most likely to commit credit card fraud, study shows. Photo: Getty

UK households have reported the second highest number of credit card fraud cases in Europe, with the average victim losing around €10,414 (£8,775), according to a new study.

Ireland took the top spot with the highest value of credit card fraud, with the UK, France, Luxembourg and Malta rounding out the top five, research from payment processing comparison website Merchant Machine showed.

The study looked at 19 countries in Europe and analysed the amount of money lost to fraud, the level of fraud risk and where crime was most prevalent.

Read more: Scams cost victims over £1.3bn last year

A quarter of transactions that take place in Ireland are made across national borders. More than three-quarters of those transactions are fraudulent, which is a higher percentage than both the UK and France.

Over an average month in the UK, there are 170 Google searches for "report credit card fraud" and 1,000 searches for "credit card fraud".

How to stay safe when using credit cards online

Never leave your credit card unattended when paying for something in-person —if given access to your card, somebody could potentially copy or tamper with it.

Be wary of unexpected text messages, phone calls, and emails — be on the look out for phishing scams which are intended to trick you into revealing your financial details by posing falsely as a bank or online shop.

If it doesn’t look right never click on the link provided/give your personal details.

Never tell anyone your pin — keep your pin private, only person that should know the details is the cardholder.

Regularly review your credit card statements — keep an eye out for any unfamiliar purchases so that you can report anything suspicious to your credit company.

Use a strong password for internet banking — you should not have the same password for every online banking account that you use. You should use a random combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.

There were 4.5 million fraud offences in the year ending March 2022, a 25% increase from March 2020, according to the Official for National Statistics (ONS).

Read more: Holiday scams to watch out for this summer

The Lending Standards Board (LSB), the primary self-regulatory body for the banking and lending industry, has also warned of the dangers of fraud.

CEO Emma Lovell, said: "No-one should be out of pocket because of criminal activity. Evidence shows scams impact victims’ mental health, leaving long-lasting feelings of guilt and shame. Reimbursement alone cannot reverse this damage; nor does it reverse the fact that the proceeds of scams often fund organised and other serious crime.

"Relying solely on reimbursement diverts focus from preventing harm and stopping scams in their tracks.”

Read more: COVID loans: Blunders in tackling fraud to cost UK taxpayers billions of pounds

In 2021, criminals impersonated a range of organisations such as the NHS, banks and government departments via phone calls, text messages, emails, fake websites and social media posts to trick people into handing over their personal and financial information.

UK Finance previously said that around £215m was lost to impersonation scams, and this was the largest category of APP (authorised push payment) losses.

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