Online banking fraud has fallen by almost a third since last year, says the UK Cards Association.

According to the organisation, £16.9m was lost due to online banking fraud between January and June this year, that's a 32 percent decrease on figures for the same period in 2010.

The UK Cards Association said the decrease was down to an improvement in customer awareness over online banking and card fraud as well as use of fraud detection software by banks. Furthermore, total fraud on UK cards fell by nine percent to £169.8m between January and June 2011, which is the lowest for 11 years.

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However, there's been a 48 percent increase in phone banking with loses totalling £8.6m in the first-half of 2011. The organisation said criminals are using phishing techniques on the phone in a bid to dupe Brits into divulging their financial security details such as PINs or passwords by claiming to be a representative from either a bank or the police. The criminals then use these details to access the victim's bank account via the phone.

Earlier this year, the National Fraud Authority (NFA) estimated fraud costs the UK more than £38bn each year, but card and banking fraud only accounts for 1.2 percent of this figure.

"Losses are appreciably lower than they were a few years ago and everyone involved in tackling fraud has reason to be encouraged by this – and that includes bank customers who, as their own front-line of defence, have certainly played their part too," said DCI Paul Barnard, head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU).

"However, there has been an increase in old fashioned scams – criminals using distraction techniques and social engineering methods to get hold of people's cards or phone banking details. We are urging everyone to be on their guard. Your bank or the police will never cold call you or email you and ask you for your login details, cards or PINs. If anyone does, they are probably a criminal, so hang up the phone or delete the email."