Payment card fraud is dropping slowly in Canada as chip and pin technology makes its way into the market, said a report from Canada's Criminal Intelligence Service last month.

The Criminal Intelligence Service Canada 2010 Report on Organised Crime said that combined 2009 losses from payment card fraud slipped 2.2 percent to $500.7 million from $512.2 million in 2008. However, the reduction has been mostly on the credit card side. Debit card losses soared 26 percent to $142.3 million.

This could be largely down to the relatively gradual rollout of chip and pin via Interac, the popular Canadian debit card system. The network only began rolling out the technology after a pilot project in 2008. Automated teller machines will still be allowed to accept magnetic stripe transactions by Interact until the end of 2012, while point of sale sytems will be allowed to take them until the end of 2015. Even if a card is chip-equipped, its magstripe could still be cloned and used in such a machine.

The report also found increasing sophistication in securities fraud. The frauds, generally carried out by organised crime groups in urban centres, are often short-term and internationally distributed to help reduce visibility.

“In the past several years, law enforcement has observed ‘hybrid market manipulations.' These frauds combine elements from several schemes and involve multiple nominees, layered trust funds, and numerous domestic and offshore facilitators, the report stated, adding that crooks would often use disposable cell phones and VoIP tools to target investors anonymously.

Boiler room operations are increasingy using social networking tools and online classified advertising sites, such as Craigslist and Kijiji, to target gullible investors, the report concluded.