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Combating Identity and Other Forms of Payment Fraud in the UK: An Analytical History (From Perspectives on Identity Theft, P 111-131, 2008, Megan M. McNally and Graeme R. Newman, eds. -- See NCJ-223725)

NCJ Number
Michael Levi
Date Published
21 pages
This chapter presents a history of the United Kingdom’s efforts to combat check and payment-card fraud since the 1980s and makes some comparisons with the United States in this area.
In 1988, the opening up of banks to increased competition led to a fight for market share that resulted in the card industry going for business growth, without adequate consideration of fraud risks. Between 1990 and 1992, fraud loss reached a record high, causing the Home Office to put pressure on the card industry to adopt ways of making cards and card transactions more secure. As a result of these measures, fraud was reduced to half of the 1992 figure by 1995. Card losses then began to creep up, until by 1999 a steep rise of 40 percent occurred. The introduction of Chip and PIN (personal identification numbers) made it more difficult for fraudsters to commit card fraud in the United Kingdom, with losses at retailers being reduced by 146.7 million pounds from 2004-2006, despite increasing card transaction turnover by value and volume. Criminals, however, are still able to copy the magnetic stripe data. They use these data to create counterfeit magnetic stripe cards that can be used in countries that have not upgraded to Chip and PIN. This has caused an increase in fraud losses abroad over the last year. A number of measures are currently in place to address “card-not-present” and online fraud, such as an automated cardholder address verification and card security code system. The card market is more fractured in the United States, since the same financial institutions seldom act as both card issuers and merchant acquirers. Despite some mega mergers in the U.S. banking system, this has made it more difficult to coordinate action against fraud. 15 notes and 12 references