When traveling in the euro zone, keep an eye on your Visa.
Recent data shows fraud losses in Europe increased 6.2 percent to $2.1 billion in 2013, according to the private analytics company Euromonitor International. The software company FICO took the data and created a Web interactive that illustrates the size of the problem in 19 European countries.
The largest losses are in the United Kingdom — $715 million — followed by France with $574 million. Together they make up 62 percent of the losses among the 19 countries, according to the Guardian.
Russia saw the largest increase in losses from 2012 — more than 27 percent. The United Kingdom came in second with a 16 percent increase.
According to FICO, France implemented technology 12 years ago that makes it much harder to steal credit card information. The reward for Gallic diligence: Criminals in France now concentrate on identity theft.
The European total of $2.1 billion is much less than the losses suffered in the United States — about $5 billion before the 2013 Target breach. That amount could come down as American credit card issuers replace easily hacked magnetic strips on cards with more secure “chip-and-PIN” technology. Chip-and-PIN cards are “embedded with a special chip that contains the same information that has traditionally been contained in the magnetic strip along the top of a standard card … When you swipe a chip-and-PIN card, you must enter a PIN to complete your purchase, the way you do with a debit card,” according to Becky Krystal writing for The Washington Post.
Kind of makes you miss traveler’s checks, huh?