PREVENTING FRAUD AND COUNTERFEITING OF
NON-CASH MEANS OF PAYMENT
Commission Communication: preventing fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment.
||9 February 2001|
|Forwarded to the Council:
||12 February 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||9 March 2001|
||Home Office and HM Treasury
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 5 December 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||No date set|
||Cleared; but explanation of delayed Explanatory Memorandum required
8.1 This Communication proposes an action
plan for the prevention of cross-border fraud by organised crime
groups using stolen or non-cash payment instruments (such as credit
or debit cards). The document identifies five areas for further
discussion and development:
- technological developments to improve the security
of both face-to-face and remote payments;
- exchange of information in accordance with current
data protection directives;
- training programmes and co-operation of all interested
- general fraud prevention measures with particular
reference to the payment industry, and to co-operation between
it and consumers' organisations; and
- co-operation with authorities in third countries.
8.2 Objectives and action points are set
out for each area. Throughout, the Communication emphasises that
effective fraud prevention can be achieved only through co-operation
at all levels.
The Government's view
8.3 In an Explanatory Memorandum submitted
jointly by the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State at the
Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) and the Economic Secretary to the
Treasury (Ruth Kelly), the Ministers tell us that the Government
is content with the objectives and action points in the plan.
They point out, however, that there is a good deal of work to
be done by the financial and retail sectors to raise awareness
of fraud and counterfeiting and to promote co-operation between
themselves. Recent discussions with the Association of Payment
Clearing Services (APACS) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC)
on combating cheque and credit card fraud within the UK indicate
problems in achieving this co-operation.
8.4 The Ministers tell us that the Government
has already appointed the National Criminal Intelligence Service
(NCIS) as the UK's National Anti-Counterfeiting Central Office,
with links to Europol and Interpol. They report:
"Representatives from NCIS, the General Council
of the Bar for England and Wales and the Association for Payment
Clearing Services have already attended a number of workshops
organised by the Forum for the Prevention of Organised Crime.
The most recent in May this year focused on educational material
for the retail sector."
8.5 The Ministers are unhappy with one of
the action points related to the exchange of information. They
"The Government is concerned to note the Commission's
reference to the 'uneven implementation' of the Data Protection
Directive (95/46/EC)...and the proposal that the Commission should
'in co-operation with national data protection authorities', issue
guidelines on the 'limits and conditions for exchange of information
related to fraud prevention'. The Commission qualifies 'uneven
implementation' in Footnote 14 as a consequence of the exercise
of discretion that the Directive affords Member States to derogate
from certain provisions of the Directive. The Government is not
aware that the Commission has the power to issue guidelines, whether
or not in co-operation with national data protection supervisory
authorities, about the way in which Member States give effect
to the provisions of the Directive."
8.6 The Ministers apologise for the delay
in producing their Explanatory Memorandum.
8.7 Once again, we are at a loss to understand
how it can have taken the two Ministers so long to produce an
Explanatory Memorandum on an uncontroversial document. Although
they apologise, they proffer no explanation for the nine-month
8.8 We require an explanation from both
Ministers for the late submission of the Explanatory Memorandum.
We remind them that we are still waiting for their explanation
for the late submission of the Explanatory Memorandum on the Pericles
If we have not received these explanations by 7 January 2002,
we shall ask both Ministers to appear before the Committee.
8.9 Meanwhile, we clear the document.
15 (22469) 9690/01; see HC 152-vi (2001-02), paragraph
7 (14 November 2001). Back