Card fraud losses fall to 13 year low

By | October 10, 2018

The European Association for Secure Transactions (EAST) has just published a European Payment Terminal Crime Report covering the first six months of 2018 which reports that losses due to card fraud at payment terminals have fallen to the lowest level since 2005.

Total losses of €107 million were reported and the decrease is primarily due to a fall in losses due to card skimming (down from €118 million to €104 million).  Overall payment terminal related fraud incidents were down 43% (from 11,934 to 6,790).  Within this total card skimming incidents were down 19% (from 1,221 to 985) and well below the peak of 5,743 incidents reported during the same period in 2010.

EAST Executive Director Lachlan Gunn said, “The significant drop in card skimming incidents and losses reflects the continued effectiveness of EMV, as well as the work that has been put in by payment terminal deployers and card issuers with regard to counter-measures such as geo-blocking, fraud monitoring capabilities and fraud detection.  Europe led the way with EMV, which is now a global standard, and all stakeholders in the payment card industry are benefitting from the increased security.”

Logical attacks against ATMs were down 46% (from 114 to 61) and all the reported ‘jackpotting’ attacks were ‘black box’ attacks.  Related losses were down 83% (from €1.51 million to €0.25 million) reflecting the fact that many of these attacks are unsuccessful.

ATM related physical attacks were up 21% (from 1,696 to 2,046 incidents).  Attacks due to ram raids and ATM burglary were up 26% (from 470 to 590 incidents) and ATM explosive attacks (including explosive gas and solid explosive attacks) were up 2% (from 481 to 490 incidents).  Losses due to ATM related physical attacks were €15.1 million, a 24% increase from the €12.2 million reported during the same period in 2017.  

The average cash loss per explosive or gas attack is estimated at €14,748, the average cash loss for a robbery is €14,613 per incident and the average cash loss for a ram raid or burglary attack is €12,275.  These figures do not take into account collateral damage to equipment or buildings, which can be significant and often exceeds the value of the cash lost in successful attacks.

A summary of the report statistics under the main headings is in the table below.  The full report, with breakdowns for each crime category, is available to EAST members and subscribers.

Terminal Related Fraud Attacks H1 2014 H1 2015 H1 2016 H1 2017 H1 2018 % +/- 17/18
Total reported Incidents 7,345 8,421 10,820 11,934 6,760 -43%
Total reported losses €132m €156m €174m €124m €107m -14%%
 ATM Related Physical Attacks H1 2014 H1 2015 H1 2016 H1 2017 H1 2018 % +/- 17/18
Total reported Incidents 1,032 1,232 1,604 1,696 2,046 +21%
Total reported losses €13m €26m €27m €12.2m €15.1m +24%
 ATM Malware & Logical Attacks  H1 2014  H1 2015  H1 2016  H1 2017  H1 2018  % +/- 17/18
Total reported Incidents 26 5 28 114 61 -46%
Total reported losses   €0.14m €0.41m €1.51m €0.25m -83%

Source: European Association for Secure Transaction