As Chip and PIN technology takes hold on the high street, credit card fraudsters have been forced to alter their techniques, new research reveals.
During the second half of 2005, the number of fraudulent transactions in high-street shops fell by 25 per cent compared to the first six months of the year, data from fraud detection specialists Retail Decisions (ReD) shows.
This change, the report said, coincides with the increased roll-out of the Chip and PIN scheme which requires card users to use a four-digit identification number rather than a signature when making a purchase.
The ReD study revealed that, as the amount of high-street counterfeit card transactions decrease, the number of fraudulent card-not-present (CNP) transactions is rising.
Attempted CNP fraud through mediums such as mail order, telephone order, interactive television and the internet increased by six per cent in the final quarter of 2005 compared to the same period a year before.
Activity was particularly strong in the run-up to Christmas, a peak time of year for retail websites.
ReD said fraudsters often target sites at the busiest times when purchase volumes are up in the hope they will be camouflaged.
The peak shopping hour over the festive season was between midday and 1pm on 23 December, with ReD's fraud detection system having its busiest minute at 12.41pm.
Among the most popular products targeted over Christmas were PSP consoles, the iPod Photo 60 and Sony and Acer laptops, ReD said.