Hey ho. Your chances of being mugged on the way home from the station are now lower than ever, but the odds of someone hacking your bank account have never been greater. MPs may criticise banks for keeping quiet about the level of small-number frauds, but the banks have their reasons - and must make from increased sales more than they lose from this type of fraud. Let me explain.
It recently took a summons to the small claims court issued by me to my bank to finally sort their recalcitrance about taking the hit on a fraudulent transaction. For over a year they'd wriggled and twisted in blatant defiance of FSA rules. All quite deliberately. All the while the amount was in dispute it wasn't a liability - allowing banks to keep in suspense for up to a year the value of frauds they must write-off. And yes, in case you'd forgotten, a fraudulent transaction on your account is a crime against the bank, not against you; it's not your money once it's deposited, you're merely a creditor of the bank. So only the bank can report a fraud to the police - which, because they don't actually want a police investigation in many cases, they don't do.
If you want to pay for an easyjet flight online directly with your plastic, you'll need your 3-digit CVC. However, book the flight through one of the many 'B-to-B' agencies and just the card numbers and your address will do. And book a hire car through a nationally-known online agent in Paris and they won't even do an address check. Banks have left these doors open quite deliberately to make card transactions easier - but also making their money easier to steal. Never mind. First they'll try to charge it to you anyway, and perhaps a third of small scale fraudulent transactions aren't even noticed by people who don't check their statements. Then they try to impose unreasonable time limits for reclaim, or make up humpty-dumpty rules that won't stand up in court to wriggle out of responsibility.
The truth is, if these frauds were really hurting banks they could tighten up the way they work overnight. In fact, they manage to pass most of the pain onto customers and retain the gain from increased business; in other words, it's sheer naked greed on the part of the banks that's fuelling the fraud boom.