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MasterCard launches its SecureCode Internet security device

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December 14, 2005

In a serious effort in fighting the increasing problem of online credit card fraud, MasterCard has implemented its SecureCode Internet security system. In essence, any Internet user with a MasterCard credit card can sign up to what the company calls its "Chip and Pin" for the Internet, as long as their bank or financial institution has joined the program.

So-called "Chip and Pin" cards are already being credited with helping bring down the amount of offline card fraud this year.

Because criminals are now looking for the easier pickings, a fertile field for them is internet shopping. This has lead to card not present (CNP) fraud leaping 29 per cent from £20m to £91m over the past year.

According to the Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) the majority of this CNP fraud is committed online.

Mastercard said its research also shows consumer attitudes have not helped. Over six out of 10 Britons believe that internet fraud only happens to other people.

But as the banks don't want people's PIN numbers to be used online, Mastercard has developed schemes similar to Chip and Pin.

Some 15,000 merchants support SecureCode, including Next, Dixons, British Airways and John Lewis, and each transaction is authenticated by entering a password in a pop up window. This is verified by the user's bank, so the merchant never gets to see it.

When a person registers, they are asked to give some personal information or a message only they would know, which is displayed each time they input the password. This will help ensure they don't become the victim of a phishing campaign and are duped into entering details into a fake site.

Visa card holders have a similar scheme called Verified by Visa. The problem for consumers is not every bank or retailer has signed up for these schemes but most are starting to sign up. The advice is to keep checking.

You can check on the MasterCard site to see if you bank has signed up to either of these schemes.

Source: Vnunet

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