September 6, 2007 7:03 AM PDT

London revealed as hot spot for online credit card fraud

London is the U.K. hot spot for so-called "card not present" fraud committed through transactions made online, on the phone and by mail order.

By tracking the postal codes of addresses where fraudulently obtained goods are delivered, fraud information group Early Warning has created a map showing the worst-offending regions in the country.

The U.K. postcode with the worst record for fraudulent credit card transactions was SE18, which includes Thamesmead and other parts of southeast London.

Card-not-present fraud has risen by 22 percent in the United Kingdom in the past year, according to Early Warning. Other U.K. hot spots include Coventry, Leeds and Manchester.

The research also found increased fraud in many postcode areas, where levels were previously negligible.

Andrew Goodwill, Early Warning's managing director, said the cost to traders of card-not-present fraud is predicted to hit $404 million this year, resulting in $80.8 million of lost revenue to the U.K. economy as a whole.

He said regulations imposed by the Home Office, the U.K. government's crime prevention department, are "distancing the police from the situation" and making the problem worse. What's more, these crimes are often not fully reported. The slow adoption of identity verification services such as Verified by Visa and MasterCard's SecureCode is also being blamed.

The top 10 U.K. card-not-present fraud hot spots are (in order): London, Manchester, Coventry, Kilmarnock, Bristol, Brighton, Leicester, Leeds, Glasgow and Nottingham.

Tim Ferguson of Silicon.com reported from London.

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