Contactless card fraud worry for Scottish consumers, finds survey

Millions of Scottish consumers are concerned about using contactless cards in the wake of rising levels of fraud, according to a new survey.

More and more Scots are falling victim to card fraud, whether for contactless or regular cards. Picture: John Devlin
More and more Scots are falling victim to card fraud, whether for contactless or regular cards. Picture: John Devlin

Recent figures by Financial Fraud Action (FFA) showed that contactless card crime has risen sixteen-fold in 2015 when compared with 2014 and now costs UK shoppers £50.7 million a year.

The research from fraud-protection firm, Defender Note, showed that 24 per cent of all Scottish adults think contactless cards make fraud too easy, while 26 per cent say they think they are more open to fraud than non-contactless payment methods.

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It has been revealed that one in five Scots say they’ll never use contactless cards because of the perceived security risk, while nearly a third say that banks should consult their customers first before issuing them with the cards.

Morgan Rothwell, director of Defender Note, said: “Contactless card fraud is rising fast and official figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Most skimming victims will have no idea they’ve been robbed until they check their bank statement, and many cases will not be detected at all.”

Since being introduced to the market, contactless card use has soared, with recent figures showing payments rose by more than 300 per cent in 2015 to reach £7.75 billion. If contactless cards are stolen, a thief could potentially make up to ten payments under £30 each before being required to enter a PIN code to continue.

Cards with contactless technology are also vulnerable to card ‘skimming’ – a technique in which a scammer uses an RFID chip-reading device - often available online - to ‘lift’ the cardholder’s details while standing in close proximity to them.

These devices allow criminals to steal the details of the card, which they can use to make online purchases on websites that don’t require the customer to enter the security code of their bank account.

It is estimated that 15 per cent of Scottish adults were victims of card fraud in the past year, with devices that can be inserted into purses and wallets to block RFID signals coming onto the market to fight against contactless card fraud. It is estimated one in every ten people has fallen victim to financial fraud. The total estimated loss to the UK economy from fraud, including financial fraud, exceeds £50bn per year.

Yet fraud on contactless cards and devices remains low with £2.8m of losses during 2015, compared to spending of £7.75bn over the same period. This is equivalent to 3.6p in every £100 spent using contactless technology.