Fair Isaac Corp. spotted a spike in U.S. credit card fraud taking place online, by mail and over the telephone.

Fraud committed through those means accounted for the highest overall losses, but counterfeit fraud incidents produced the highest losses per account, Fair Isaac said. Counterfeit fraud losses should come down as the U.S. continues its shift to the EMV chip-card standard, the company said in an Aug. 23 announcement.

Fair Isaac's study covered credit-card losses from January 2010 to September 2011. The company also studied debit card use. It found that debit cards are particularly susceptible to card-skimming devices, which steal magnetic-stripe data to create cloned cards. Fraudsters typically plant these devices on ATMs.

The top three sources of debit-card compromises were ATMs, grocery stores and gas pumps. For credit cards, the top three were groceries, restaurants and online merchants.

"More online shopping has created a shift towards more online fraud, which is proving to be a popular, relatively safe and anonymous means for fraudsters to exploit any weakness in fraud systems," Doug Clare, Fair Isaac's vice president of product management, said in the press release. "Consumers and issuers should remain diligent when using cards for point of sale and ATM transactions."

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