Latest figures show fraudsters stole almost €100m through frauds and scams in 2023 as holiday makers warned to be extra vigilant for card fraud over the summer season.

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Latest figures show fraudsters stole almost €100m through frauds and scams in 2023 as holiday makers warned to be extra vigilant for card fraud over the summer season.

FraudSMART Payment Fraud Report

Fraudsters stole almost €100 million (€98.6m) through frauds and scams in 2023, an increase of over 16% (16.4%) on 2022, according to a new report published today by FraudSMART, the fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

The Payment Fraud Report, based on data from FraudSMART members*, reveals that card fraud accounted for 95% of fraudulent transactions and 36% (€35.2 million) of gross fraud losses in 2023. Card usage by consumers and businesses rose significantly overall, with the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) reporting a 28.8% increase in debit and credit card payments in 2023. In contrast, fraudulent card payments increased by 8.2% according to FraudSMART data.

The report also notes that other types of fraud had lower volumes but higher average losses. Unauthorised electronic transfers accounted for only 3% of the volume but 34% (€33.8 million) of losses. This type of fraud occurs when someone makes a payment through mobile or online banking, without the account holder’s authorisation or permission, often called ‘account takeover’. It usually results from the loss or theft of sensitive payment data such as a victim’s account number or PIN.

Additionally, the report shows that consumers and businesses were scammed out of €18.1 million through authorised push payment (APP fraud). This occurs when a fraudster tricks a consumer into sending money directly to an account controlled by the criminal, for example through an investment or romance scam. While APP Fraud makes up just 1% of fraudulent transactions and 18% of losses, it represents a significant increase compared to 2022 in both volume and value terms (42.5% and 82.2% respectively).

On foot of today’s report and the dominance of card fraud highlighted, FraudSMART is today issuing a warning to holiday makers to be extra vigilant over the summer period at home and abroad when they may be using their debit or credit cards more frequently for booking travel or accommodation, as well as other holiday-related purchases, and is calling on consumers to familiarise themselves of the simple steps they can take to prevent falling victim to fraud.

Speaking about the latest figures and the importance of being alert this summer, Niamh Davenport, Head of Financial Crime, BPFI said: “As many people look forward to the summer holidays ahead, today’s figures are a timely reminder to be on alert for credit and debit card fraud. We can all be at risk of being enticed by ‘unbelievable’ holiday deals and letting down our guard when out of our regular routines and environments. While it is important to recognise that cards remain one of the safest forms of payment, as they come with extensive fraud protections and offer many conveniences especially when planning holidays and travelling, fraudsters are increasingly targeting consumers using complex and deceptive methods.”

“FraudSMART is urging holiday makers to take extra caution when booking travel, accommodation and other holiday-related purchases such as eating out. Watch out for copycat websites offering holiday accommodation and packages which closely mimic a legitimate site or well-known company brand but may have subtle differences in the website name and often have spelling errors. These sites aim to steal your card details and personal information for fraudulent activities. Also, be alert for fake emails and social media ads offering holiday deals which appear to be offering bargain prices but are in reality too good to be true. When paying in person, never let your card out of sight, such as at a restaurant, and don’t share or write down your card PIN. If you think you have fallen victim to fraud report it to your bank and the Gardaí immediately.”

Top FraudSMART tips and checks for protecting your card details this summer:

  • Book through reputable sources, always use trusted and well-known booking websites or travel agents.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails or social media ads offering cheap holiday deals. Verify the authenticity of special offers by visiting the official website of the travel company directly rather than clicking on links in emails or ads. 
  • Avoid making payments through bank transfers as these are harder to trace and recover.
  • Do not use unsecured or public Wi-Fi networks when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary.
  • Keep a record of your purchase, print or save a copy of your order.
  • Keep your computer’s security up to date with reliable antivirus and browser software.
  • Keep your card in your sights and protect your PIN – never share or write down your PIN details.

Consumers can access a wealth of other advice on how to avoid fraud by visiting www.FraudSMART.ie and signing up for email alerts on current risks and trends.

The FraudSMART Payment Fraud Report is available on the BPFI website here.

Article Published: 11/06/2024