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Brits fall victim to festive fraud

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12/12/2008

Seventeen million Brits will be at the mercy of festive fraudsters this year, as bars and restaurants throughout the country fail to put in place proper security measures to protect their customers, according to CPP.

The life assistance company has revealed that ‘cardholder not present’ and counterfeit fraud could rise this month, as one in four bars and restaurants compromise their customers’ card security.

Nearly three quarters of patrons reported staff taking credit and debit cards out of sight, almost a half being placed within access of colleagues and over a third even placing cards in view and easy reach of other customers.

With half of the UK planning to pay for Christmas celebrations by card this year and the average card having up to £1,200 in credit or debit available, the cost of festive fraud could leave the victim considerably out of pocket. As a result, 90% of cardholders are calling for it to be made illegal for bar and restaurant staff to take cards out of sight to process payments, or run a tab.

Three-quarters of people have also called for establishments to sign up to a code of conduct that would ensure regulation and protect consumers’ card details.

Danny Harrison, card fraud expert at CPP, said: “It’s at this time of year when we’re out celebrating that it’s natural to let our guard down. Cardholder not present and counterfeit fraud is a growing problem in the UK, costing £250m in January to June – up 19% from the same time last year, so customers really need to be careful with their cards and think twice before handing them over.

“Remember, it only takes seconds for fraudsters to clone or skim a card, or even to write down your card numbers. Often the first that a victim knows about fraud is when they look at their statement – not the kind of hangover that any of us want to start the New Year with.”

CPP urges consumers to check receipts against statements and to not let staff take cards out of sight.

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