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Telephone shoppers are putting their credit cards at risk of fraud; 40% of 25-34 year olds have read their card details out loud in a public place

February 13, 2014

New research commissioned by Semafone has revealed that many of us are putting ourselves at risk of fraud by reading credit and debit numbers out loud in public places. The age group revealed to be taking the largest risk was 25-34 year-olds, of whom 30% admitted to reading their card details out loud in the street and 22% in an open plan office. Older shoppers were shown to be the most cautious group, with 91% of over 55s stating that they had never read their card details out loud in a public place at all.

Surprisingly, the youngest group surveyed, which included 18-24 year olds, showed slightly less risky behaviour than the 25-34 year old group, with just under 30% having read card details out loud in public. This age group, however, also contained the largest percentage of people admitting to reading card details aloud on public transport; almost 17%, compared with just 1.33% of over-55s.

Tim Critchley, CEO of Semafone, commented, "Paying by telephone is still extremely popular because it's quick, it's easy, and there's someone on the end of the line to provide help. In fact telephone payments account for one in eight of the UK's card transactions. It is clear from this survey, however, that many of us are not applying the same standards of security to telephone payments that we would to online transactions."

"Nobody would dream of saying their PIN number out loud in a public place, but unfortunately, once we are on the phone, we will often provide our card number, 3 digit security code and address without a second thought, blocking out everything around us and forgetting that we can be overheard."

According to research from academic institutions including Princeton University, our ability to perceive the world around us is severely limited when we are speaking on the phone. This is due to "cognitive load" - human brains are unable to maintain full awareness of their surroundings when engaged in a telephone conversation, making us less likely to notice eavesdroppers.

The risk from telephone payment fraud is twofold:

- From card details being overheard in the street

- From the call centre itself.

Notes to editors

About Semafone's software

Semafone's software allows customers to enter their own card details directly into the telephone handset when they pay over the phone, without losing voice contact with the call centre agent. The tones made by the individual keys are disguised so they cannot be identified by their sound and no card data is taken into the computer and telephony systems of the call centre, making the transaction ultra-secure. To find out more about how calls can be protected by the Secured by Semafone trustmark, visit

Anyone who has been a victim of fraud can contact the police helpline Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040

About Semafone

Semafone provides software to contact centres so they can take secure credit and debit card payments over the phone. Using Semafone's patented payment method, card data is transmitted directly from the customer's telephone keypad to the bank. This takes the contact centre out of scope of PCI DSS regulations, removing the threat of fraud and its associated reputational damage.

Semafone serves a wide range of industry sectors including financial services, media, retail, utilities, travel and tourism and the public sector. Customers include the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Aviva Canada, TalkTalk, Nemo Personal Finance, Sky and Yorkshire Water.

Founded in 2009, Semafone received a 1.9m investment from Octopus Ventures in 2010 and a further 1.5m, primarily from existing investors, in 2012.

Further information about Semafone is available at

About the research

The research was conducted by OnePoll in December 2013.

2000 UK Adults responded to the following question:

Have you ever read your credit or debit card details out loud in any of the following places?

On public transport

In an open plan office

In the street

In another public place

None of the above - I have never read my card details out loud in a public place

For a full copy of the research, please contact

Xanthe Vaughan Williams or Hannah Devoy

Fourth Day Public Relations

Tel: +44 (0)20 7403 4411

Email: or


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Source: M2 PressWIRE

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