THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Europeans are losing about $1.96 billion annually from fraudulent use of debit and credit cards, the European Union police agency Europol said.
The Europol said Monday most of the thefts affecting European Union residents occurred most often in the United States.
"The majority of illegal face-to-face card transactions affecting the European Union take place overseas, mainly in the United States," the agency, based in The Hague, Netherlands, said.
The report said embedded security features on cards issued in the European Union are bypassed in the United States because some U.S.-based cash machines aren't fully compliant with the global security standard based on chip technology.
"Due to this phenomenon, and the lack of specific agreements on reimbursement of losses caused by less protected terminals, the majority of the loss burden caused by this fraud is on the EU card issuers," Europol said.
The report said organized gangs steal money using similar techniques in Brazil, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Russia.
"The ultimate solution to this problem would be to implement the [chip technology security] standard on a global level, including making United States' merchants compliant," the agency said in its report
European Union citizens also are being victimized by online credit card transaction fraud, EUobserver said Tuesday. Law enforcement officials said online security features meant to prevent criminals from stealing personal information and credit card numbers have become a profitable underground market.