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Australian card fraud is rising rapidly

As I've said before, whilst the real size of the card fraud issue is quietly swept under a rather large carpet in the UK, authorities in other countries seem quite willing to tell all on the topic.

It's therefore quite interesting to read in the Sydney Morning Herald that Australians lost in excess of a quarter of billion pounds in card fraud last year, with that figure expected to rise this year.

According to the Aussie paper, more than 380,000 people down under lost an average of A$1,800 (about 650 UK quidlets) to card fraud last year, although the Aussie Bureau of Statistics is said to acknowledge the real figure is much higher.

This, the paper says, is because the bureau's survey into personal fraud recorded only an individual's most recent loss, but one-third of victims admitted they had been ripped off two or more times.

Further losses were suffered by 124,000 victims of identity theft and 57,800 people were said to have been defrauded by phishing.

Gartner's analyst Andrew Wallis, meanwhile, is quoted as saying that - to encourage Aussies to use e-banking - the banks have downplayed the risk of fraud.

"It's a classic thing. How do you get people moving into something? Well, you don't tell them it's dangerous. You don't mention the negative side. You'll extol the virtues and the benefits," he told the paper.

The benefits, says the Herald, are clear - fewer tellers for banks and greater convenience for customers - but the dangers are complex.

"Realistically, the vast majority of people are never going to become computer security experts," said Wallis. "It's the banks' responsibility to do everything they can to protect the customer."

If you extrapolate these fraud figures to the UK market, they become quite frightening. I'd better not say any more, in case APACS get shirty with me...