Bank account holders are being urged to be wary of a new wave of 'old-fashioned' scams, as new statistics show a rise in cheque and phone banking fraud.
Figures from The UK Cards Association reveal that, while online banking thefts have fallen by nearly a third on last year - suggesting the industry is cracking down on 'high-tech' fraudsters - more traditional methods of fraud are on the rise.
Phone banking fraud rose to £8.6 million - a 48% rise - in the past 12 months, and losses from cheque fraud rose from £14 million in the first six months of 2010 to £16.4 million in the same period in 2011.
The findings highlight the importance of bank account customers remaining on their guard when carrying out transactions - and following basic security measures to increase safety.
DCI Paul Barnard, head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), commented: "Losses are appreciably lower than they were a few years ago. However, there has been an increase in old-fashioned scams, with criminals using distraction techniques to get hold of people's cards or phone banking details."
A spokesperson for thinkbanking said: "Customers should always remain vigilant when making transactions. Your bank will never ask you to give out your card details or PIN number over the phone, and if you're concerned about any suspicious activity with your account, report it to your bank immediately."
With 'old-fashioned' fraud on the increase, taking even basic steps to protect yourself could help - such as making sure you cover your PIN number when using cash machines, and never keeping sensitive information in your purse or wallet. If you're making transactions online, be sure to use secure websites only (the web address should start with 'https://'), and never give out confidential information about your finances in e-mails.
Feel free to take a look at the thinkmoney guide: Being safe online: how not to fall foul of fraudsters. There are lots of helpful tips to make sure you are as protected as possible.
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