To the Editor:
Allow me to set the record straight on Paul Nadler's March 24 discussion of credit card fraud ("Can It Really Be Smart to Make Card Fraud So Amazingly Easy?" page 13).
Card fraud at Visa U.S.A. has steadily declined over the last four years, thanks in large part to new technologies that help member financial institutions and law enforcement recognize and act upon criminal activity.
Mr. Nadler is correct that the number of credit cards has increased, as has transaction volume. Yet fraud as a percentage of volume reached an all- time low in 1997 at just 8 cents per $100 spent on Visa cards.
This suggests that Visa and its members are doing something right. The fact that Mr. Nadler received a telephone call advising him of potential criminal activity shows that today's fraud control techniques are working. By recognizing suspect activity, Citibank was able to stop further losses in their tracks.
No level of fraud is acceptable and each year thieves conceive of new ways to steal from lenders. The challenge is to remain a step ahead of the crooks. Visa's neural network technology and other fraud detection measures combine with law-enforcement education to make a powerful weapon in the battle to keep fraud losses low and consumer confidence high.
Vice president, corporate relationsVisa U.S.A. San Francisco