Payment card fraud amounts to over €12 million in H1 2020 – BPFI

In-store card fraud transactions down 52% but online care fraud up 21% reflecting changes in shopping behaviour during pandemic 

Consumers warned to take extra precautions when shopping online ahead of Easter holiday weekend

 1st April 2021 – Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) today published the latest debit and credit card fraud losses for the first half of 2020 which amounted to €12.2 million and more than 143,000 fraudulent debit and credit card transactions.

The figures come as consumers are being urged to be extra cautious during the upcoming Easter period and in light of this week’s announcement that many of the current COVID restrictions are set continue in the weeks ahead.

Speaking about the latest data and the importance of taking extra precautions as consumers continue to shop online more than ever before Brian Hayes, Chief Executive BPFI said: “These latest figures were recorded in the first six months of 2020, a period which saw the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions which dramatically transformed our shopping behaviour. Reflecting these restrictions and lifestyle changes, we saw a 21% rise in ‘card not present’ fraud transactions. This fraud usually takes place online when the fraudster uses the details of a debit or credit card they have stolen but the physical card itself does not need to be present during the transaction.  In parallel, we saw a fast drop in in-store card fraud as consumers moved away from physical shops and moved online. Point-of-sale fraud transactions were down 52% in H1 2020, compared to a year earlier.

“Looking at how fraudsters are obtaining customers card information we can see that 72% of all fraudulent transactions involved the theft of card details. Fraudsters do this mainly by using fake text messages, email scams or fake websites to get a hold of a consumer’s card details and go on to use those details to make fraudulent payments mostly online. This is a very worrying trend that we are seeing, and we cannot stress enough the need for customers to be on high alert particularly as we approach the popular Easter shopping period and Bank Holiday weekend ahead.”

“Despite the fact that the theft of card details led to a large majority of fraudulent transactions, lost or stolen cards still accounted for about 21% of card fraud. This underlines the ongoing need for consumers to be vigilant when using their card in-store and our key advice in that regard is to always treat your card as you would your cash and keep it safe at all times.”

“As recently as this week we have new data from the CSO showing online retails were up 13% this month, the highest proportion of retail sales transacted online since May 2020.  And over the last 12 months we have seen how criminals have very quickly tailored their scams taking advantage of this rise in online shopping, as well as remote working and people being more contactable via email. This has led to an increase in impersonation scams with fraudsters mimicking delivery companies for instance or trusted organisations such as utility companies or banks via text, email and online websites.”

“With lockdown restrictions set to continue in the coming weeks, BPFI’s and its fraud awareness initiative FraudSMART are urging consumers be extra cautious when shopping online.  There is a lot of user friendly information on our website and we would appeal to everyone to take some time to learn the very simple steps they can take and the warning flags they can look out for to protect themselves falling victim to fraud.”

Top Tips for Shopping Safely Online

  • Use secure websites. The website address should be ‘https’ before the purchase is made, indicating a secure connection
  • Use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address
  • Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary
  • Independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts
  • Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with or websites associated with high street retail outlets
  • Consumers can a wealth of other advice on how to avoid fraud by visiting

For further information contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, 087 9016880 or jillian.heffernan@bpfi.i

About FraudSMART: FraudSMART is a fraud awareness initiative developed by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) in conjunction with the following member banks, Allied Irish Bank plc, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, PermanentTSB, Ulster Bank, An Post and Barclays. The programme aims to raise consumer and business awareness of the latest financial fraud activity and trends and provide simple and impartial advice on how best they can protect themselves and their resources.

About BPFI: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland.  Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has over 100 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.