'1 in 3 Singapore consumers' victims of card fraud

Singapore has the sixth-highest rate of card fraud globally, according to a new global survey. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore has the sixth-highest rate of card fraud globally, with more than one in three consumers here falling prey to the crime, according to a new survey.

Electronic banking and payment solutions firm ACI Worldwide said 36 per cent of credit, debit and prepaid card users here have suffered unauthorised activity on their cards in the past five years - a jump from 28 per cent in the 2014 survey.

Within the Asia-Pacific, Singapore has the third-highest rate of card fraud, behind Australia and India, based on data compiled by ACI Worldwide and Aite Group.

The 2016 Global Consumer Card Fraud survey, conducted in March, polled 6,035 consumers from 20 countries. Six are in the Asia-Pacific: Australia, New Zealand, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

"In the Asia-Pacific region, there is a clear correlation between risky behaviour and fraud incidents," said Ms Giselle Lindley, senior fraud consultant at ACI Worldwide.

The study looks at five risky behaviours: leaving a smartphone unlocked when not in use, shopping or banking online without security software, writing the PIN on the card, responding to e-mail or calls asking for banking information, and throwing away unshredded bank statements.

Singapore consumers have improved across the board in these areas between 2014 and 2016. However, a sizeable portion of the 303 people surveyed here still indulged in risky behaviour. For example, 24 per cent of Singapore respondents left their phones unlocked while not in use, while 19 per cent shopped or banked online without security software.

When fraud was reported, more consumers were very unhappy or somewhat unhappy - a total of 40 per cent - with the aftercare experience provided by banks. This was up from the 33 per cent recorded in the previous survey.

In the Asia-Pacific, the study also found that consumers in Singapore and Thailand expressed the highest lack of confidence in banks' abilities to prevent fraud. About 15 per cent of them had little confidence and felt banks could do better.

Consumers here are most concerned about identify theft, data breaches resulting in compromised account numbers, and online banking fraud, the survey found.

Globally, Mexico took the top spot with the highest fraud rate at 56 per cent, followed by Brazil with 49 per cent and the United States with 47 per cent.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline '1 in 3 Singapore consumers' victims of card fraud. Subscribe