Special police unit targets card fraud

By UK CreditCards.com

UK credit card fraud unit celebrates anniversaryBeing affected by fraud is a major worry for all credit card holders, particularly as the perpetrators of such crimes are developing increasingly sophisticated methods to achieve their goals. However, one special unit in the UK is being celebrated for its work in targeting fraudsters over the past eight years.

An overview of the DCPCU
The Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) was launched April 29, 2002. Comprising 20 officers from the Metropolitan and City of London police forces, the unit is fully sponsored by the UK banking industry, which provides £5m per year to aid its operations. Estimates suggest that it has managed to prevent £340m worth of plastic card and cheque fraud losses during its existence, equating to about £3.5m per month.

Strong performance in 2009
Figures recently published by the UK Cards Association revealed that total card fraud losses within the banking industry were £440.3m in 2009, representing an impressive £160m decline from the previous year's total. The DCPCU played a major part in this progress, recovering 9,700 counterfeit debit and credit cards, taking its overall haul to more than 54,000 in the past eight years. In addition, the unit recovered 29,300 compromised card numbers in 2009 and now boasts over 319,000 successful cases of this type since its inception. Officers also managed to secure 31 convictions on fraud-related matters during the 12-month period, meaning they have now amassed more than 270 convictions in total.

An "instrumental" role
This work in targeting organised credit card fraud gangs led to estimated savings of £24.5m over the course of the year. Detective Chief Inspector John Osibote, who heads up the DCPCU, is understandably proud of the unit's achievements, describing it as "instrumental in helping drive down card fraud".

"We want to send out a loud and clear message to the organised criminal gangs who are behind the lion's share of fraud on UK cards that we can, and will, track them down," he said.

Protecting yourself
While the efforts of groups such as the DCPCU are undoubtedly admirable, the onus also rests upon consumers to protect themselves from the attentions of fraudsters. Simple precautions such as covering up a pin number while withdrawing cash and never writing it down or sharing it with friends and family are highly recommended. In addition, Britons should keep a close eye on their statements, preferably through online banking, in order to spot any suspicious transactions early.

Published: 11 May 2010