London shoppers put their own credit and debit cards at risk.

30% of shoppers in the capital admit to reading credit and debit card details out loud in a public place.

New research commissioned by Semafone has revealed that many Londoners are putting their own credit and debit cards at risk by reading the numbers out loud in public.  Almost 30% of those surveyed revealed that they had spoken their details out loud on public transport, in an open plan office, in the street, in a restaurant or in another public place.  This was higher than any of the other 11 UK regions surveyed.

20% of the respondents from London admitted to speaking details aloud in an open plan office and over 16% said that they had done so in the street.  Both of these statistics were significantly higher than other regions.  In the East Midlands, which emerged as most cautious area of the UK, only 8% had spoken their details out loud in an office and just 5.4% in the street.

Tim Critchley, CEO of Semafone, commented, “Paying by telephone is still extremely popular because it’s quick, it’s easy, and there’s someone on the end of the line to provide help.  In fact telephone payments account for one in eight of the UK’s card transactions.  It is clear from this survey, however, that many of us are not applying the same standards of security to telephone payments that we would to online transactions.”

“Nobody would dream of saying their PIN number out loud in a public place, but unfortunately, once we are on the phone, we will often provide our card number, 3 digit security code and address without a second thought, blocking out everything around us and forgetting that we can be overheard.  As residents of a busy city, Londoners may be particularly susceptible to this type of intense focus. ”

According to research from academic institutions including Princeton University, our ability to perceive the world around us is severely limited when we are speaking on the phone.  This is due to “cognitive load” – human brains are unable to maintain full awareness of their surroundings when engaged in a telephone conversation, making us less likely to notice eavesdroppers.

The risk from telephone payment fraud is twofold:

–          From card details being overheard in the street

–          From the call centre itself.

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