18 January 2001 | Cathy Hayward
Company credit cards and purchasing cards are behind a steep rise in credit card fraud, according to industry experts.
Card fraud rose by 60 per cent last year to £300 million and company credit cards, gold cards and purchasing cards were the main victims, according to the Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs).
"Cards with high credit limits like purchasing and company credit cards are key targets," said Robert Littas, head of the fraud management department at Visa International. "Thieves know they can spend more without being caught." The fraud is also less likely to be discovered because of the multiple use aspect of the cards, he said.
Despite the risks associated with online purchasing, just 2 per cent of credit card fraud - around £10 million - is Internet-based. "Most losses occur from sites which are set up to get credit card details and use them fraudulently, rather than details being intercepted by hackers," said an Apacs spokesman.
"Skimming", where the card's electronic data is copied on to a duplicate card, is the main cause of loss, he said. "You should never let a card out of your sight."
But Littas acknowledged that this is difficult.
"Entertaining is a key function of the company credit card and it is often taken away from you to be processed."
He advised staff to check through statements carefully.