Bank losses from the most common form of credit card fraud, account takeovers, as well as from stolen credit cards, jumped to four-year highs in August.
There were 58,809 cases of account takeovers reported, accounting for NT$234.75 million (US$7.63 million) in losses, while losses from stolen cards jumped to NT$3.22 million, National Credit Card Center (NCCC) data released on Monday last week showed.
However, “it seems that the number of cases [of stolen cards] is rising, as well as the amount,” a center official told the Taipei Times yesterday.
There were 245 transactions involving stolen cards in August, the second-highest this year after March’s 380 cases, center data showed.
The cards stolen in August were used to make purchases or obtain cash advances, the official said.
The average amount of fraudulent transactions that month was NT$13,145, an increase of 15 percent from NT$11,438 in July, the data showed.
These cases involved cards that were stolen, not those which did not reach consumers before being used, which the center considers to be another type of fraud, the official said.
The non-profit center, which was established in 1983 as the National Debit Card Center before becoming the NCCC in 1988, collects data from the 36 card issuers in Taiwan and issues monthly tallies.
It divides credit card fraud into eight types. Losses from stolen cards ranked fourth last year, after account takeovers, counterfeit cards and lost cards, center statistics showed.
While the losses from stolen cards seldom surpassed NT$2 million per month in previous years, the number reached NT$2.29 million in March, but fell to NT$738,331 in April and averaged about NT$1 million from May to July, the data showed.
The spike in August was caused by a thief who used a stolen card to make more than NT$1 million in purchases, a Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) official surnamed Liu said yesterday by telephone.
Thieves can also use stolen credit cards to get cash advances, but it is harder to do so, as they also need a password, the center said.
“You can only try to enter a password three times, and usually people do not display their passwords on their credit cards,” center spokesman Hanover Chu (朱漢華) said.
Given the figures for August, the center would monitor the data from September and last month, and take action if necessary, Chu said.
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