Friday, 11 February 2011

Global card fraud on the rise...but is it taken seriously?

According to Finextra, a survey carried out by Research Now for ACI Worldwide shows that nearly a third (29%) of the 4,200 people surveyed across 14 countries have been victims of card fraud in the last 5 years.  When comparing data with that from the 8 countries surveyed in 2009, this is a 60% increase. In the UK the numbers are even higher (33%) as I mentioned in a post last month ("One third of UK adults are victims of card fraud").

What is of interest to me is that according to the survey, 81% of the respondents have confidence in the ability of their bank of financial institution to protect them - despite the prevalence of card fraud.  That is a great statistic and reflects the time, energy, commitment, and funding put into battling such fraud by the private sector - as well as the focus and dedication of law enforcement agencies.  There is no argument that from this perspective it is taken seriously.

Yet it would be great if governments would play their part too, by better understanding that Financial Crime (and Payment Card Fraud in particular) is something that is of great concern to the vast majority of their people, and not just a problem for the industry.  In many countries the penalties for convictions for financial crime are weak, and therefore not a real deterrent to the criminals (often organised criminal gangs) that commit such offences.

If the pundits are right, and cash is (increasingly) no longer king, it's replacement is electronic payments, which means increased usage of payment cards.  That means that payment card fraud will continue to increase as a problem for both the industry and society - to counter this, perhaps punishments for convicted criminals should now be reviewed ........and where possible increased to levels commensurate with the seriousness of such crimes. 

As well as being distressing and inconvenient for cardholders and society, and expensive and time consuming for the industry and law enforcement, such crime also generates proceeds that can be used for the finance of global terrorism, and other sinister agendas.  Now is the time for governments to recognise this and for a tougher stand to be taken by legislators and the judiciary.

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