Online credit card fraud soars, but theft using fake cards keeps falling


Online credit card fraud soared to ¥5.23 billion in 2011, up ¥2 billion from the previous year, but theft involving fake cards dwindled significantly, according to the Japan Consumer Credit Association.

As many of the incidents involved online shopping with stolen credit card information, “losses could increase further in line with the spread of Internet shopping,” an official at the association warned.

Stressing that confirming credit card numbers and expiry dates is not enough on its own to prevent Internet fraud, the industry group is calling on online store operators to draw up guidelines to reduce the number of cases, including enhanced verification of cardholders’ identities.

Beginning in July, the association plans to urge all operators to increase their antifraud efforts, for instance by boosting password protection systems.

An additional ¥2.58 billion was stolen last year with fake credit cards, but this sum was just 16 percent of the record-high ¥16.5 billion swindled in 2002, and the second-lowest level since the annual survey began in 1997, the association said.

A senior official at the Metropolitan Police Department attributed this decline largely to a ban on imports of blank cards in June 2006. Customs officers seized around 15,000 blank cards in 2004, but only six last year.

The proliferation of cards with integrated circuit chips is another factor, accounting for 54.1 percent of all credit cards issued by major companies. The association is aiming to raise the figure to more than 80 percent by the end of 2016.