Fraud losses on credit and debit cards in the United Kingdom have fallen sharply so far this year, according to data released last week by Financial Fraud Action UK.

The U.K. financial services trade group said that losses in the first half of the year fell 23.5%, to $370 million, compared with the same period a year earlier.

The period also marked the first-ever drop in card-not-present fraud losses, falling 18.2%, to $214 million.

Financial Fraud Action attributed this decrease to increased use by financial companies and retailers of robust fraud-detection technologies and to growing use of online security tools, such as MasterCard Inc's SecureCode and Visa Inc.'s Verified By Visa.

The fraud totals include fraud related to card skimming, lost or stolen cards, identity theft and cards stolen in the mail.

"These latest fraud figures are good news, but we know there's no room for complacency," Katy Worobec, Financial Fraud Action's head of fraud control, said in a press release last week.

Despite the gain in card-not-present transactions, she warned that fraud is increasing in other areas, such as online banking and cards issued outside the United Kingdom.

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