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Sharp rise in credit card swindles.

CONSUMERS have been warned to be on their guard after a big rise in credit and debit card fraud.

Card fraud increased 18% to pounds 478. 8m in the 12 months to June this year, according to figures from the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS).

However, crime involving cards which were either lost or stolen in the post soared 51% to pounds 61. 2m.

Experts fear cards are being taken intercepted before reaching card-holders.

APACS believe fraudsters are stepping up their activities during the introduction of new chip and pin card technology.

The programme means that, in 2005, the vast majority of face-to-face UK credit and debit card transactions will be authorised by the customer keying in their PIN (personal identification number) . Jemma Smith, a spokeswoman for APACS, said fraud relating to cards classified as ``mail non-receipt'' was made worse because the crime often went undetected for longer.

``The first time you know something is wrong is when you get your statement. ''

APACS is advising card-holders to check their account regularly in order to spot bogus transactions.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 5, 2004
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