Bank account hijacking has soared in Greece, as the growing phenomenon of credit transfer fraud – the illegal transfer of money from one account to another – increased fourfold last year, according to the Bank of Greece.
Data in the central bank’s Credit Stability Report reveal there were 1,179 cases of fraudulent credit transfer last year, amounting to 6.2 million euros, compared to 296 cases in 2019 that had amounted to €1.5 million.
Cases of credit transfer fraud pale in comparison to fraud in other types of transactions, such as the so-called “card not present” (CNP) transactions, when neither the cardholder nor the card is physically present at the time of the transaction. However, the cost of credit transfer fraud is potentially huge, as access by an unauthorized person to one’s bank account details could lead to the theft of large sums of money, while in card fraud there is a limit on transactions and various filter layers to acknowledge a cardholder.
The increase in credit transfer fraud in value terms is indicative of the increased frequency with which cardholders are conned into revealing their details through email (phishing), by SMS (smishing) or over the telephone (vishing).
The BoG report noted that data analysis reveals the majority of fraud techniques concern either the issue of payment orders by the imposter or the manipulation of the bank client by the perpetrator of the fraud.
Credit transfer is the most widely used means of bank transaction. According to the same data 477 million transactions were conducted in 2020, posting a 35% rise compared to 2019. The value of credit transactions added up to €718 billion, up 3% from 2019, which reveals a decline in the average amount per transaction by 24%, from €1,979 in 2019 to €1,504 last year.
BoG statistics confirm that the most common form of online fraud concerns CNP transactions, while instances of fraud concerning cash machines (ATMs) and card terminals (PoS) were far fewer. In the first half of this year the number of fraud incidents came to just 995 at ATMs, 11,600 in PoS payments, and 197,000 in CNP transactions.
The value of fraud in ATM transactions reached €324,000, while it came to €323,000 in PoS payments and €5.4 million in CNP transactions.