Increased chip and pin security has led to criminals targeting bank customers accounts with direct debit scams, research reveals. In 2001 theft via direct debit accounted for just 0.01% of all identity fraud theft. That figure now stands at 10.6% in a huge increase.
In the last four years, instances where fraudsters have taken money by setting up direct debits from innocent customers bank accounts, has risen by 288%. The rise, thought to be due to the difficulty in stealing from plastic now chip and pin has become commonplace across the industry, shows that criminals will sink to any depths in an effort to steal money.
The scam has been hugely successful because many customers simply do not check their bank statements, and don’t notice that the money has been taken. Criminals use stolen bank details to set up direct debits to pay for goods that they are receiving, like a gym membership or phone bill.
This year has seen almost 26,000 cases, and with this figure expected to rise to 41,000 by 2013, this is not a problem that seems likely to go away. Insurance firm LV=, who were behind the research, also revealed that an average of £540 was taken from each account before the scam was noticed.
Whilst most people are covered under their banks direct debit guarantee, so will get their money back, bank customers are strongly advised to study their bank statements in depth to make sure they are not victims of this scam.