Card-not-present (CNP) fraud – the crime that involves obtaining goods and services online or over the phone without a credit card being presented – rose sharply last year.

According to figures from credit card protection fraud specialist The 3rd Man, more than£500 million of CNP fraud was attempted during the year – a figure that the consultancy suggests is considerably ahead of official reports.

Payment organisation Apacs has reported that CNP fraud totalled£290.7 million last year – a 37 per cent increase on the previous year. This was the figure for UK-issued cards and excludes losses on non UK-issued cards.

The 3rd Man chief executive Paul Simms said: “CNP fraud is a major problem that is not going away and is clearly getting worse, as criminals increase their efforts to steal from retailers.” The increase in CNP fraud is attributed to the success of the Chip & PIN initiative, launched in 2006, which made fraud involving a physical transaction more difficult.