4.5m debit or credit cards cancelled after fraud, study shows

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More than four million people were forced to cancel credit or debit cards after falling victim to fraud in the last year, according to a new study.

A survey of more than 2,000 adults in the UK found one in 10 were targeted by scams that meant they had to replace their cards.

In 62% of cases, money was successfully removed from the account, with an average of £475 stolen. 

This equates to 4.5 million credit or debit cards being cancelled in the previous 12 months, with more than £2.1 billion stolen in total, according to comparethemarket.com, which commissioned the research.

Nearly a third (31%) of those who were defrauded reported falling victim to a hack which occurred when making a payment online. One in 10 (10%) had their card duplicated at an ATM and a small proportion (8%) said they had been hacked when making a contactless payment.

Jody Baker, head of money at comparethemarket.com, said: "We're constantly being warned of the dangers of cyber attacks but it is still a shock if it happens to you.

"Most of the transactions we make now are digital and our research suggests that over a quarter of people carry as little as £10 in cash.

"With so many of us shopping and banking on the internet, combined with a rise in contactless payments, it is more important than ever to be vigilant when managing your money.

"It is a good idea to regularly check your bank statements for any unusual activity, as criminals often make small but regular thefts which are harder to spot than larger one-off purchases."

Earlier this year the scale of fraud and cyber crime was laid bare in official estimates for the first time.

Questions on the two categories were added to the Crime Survey for England and Wales from October last year.

Early findings published in July showed that about 3.8 million fraud and two million computer misuse offences were experienced by victims in the year before interview.

The figures were seen as fresh evidence of the changing face of crime, sparking suggestions that people are now more likely to be "mugged" online than in the street.