Improving legal cooperation between Member States on combating cyberfraud is a step in the right direction, said the EESC in a recent opinion assessing the Commission's draft directive on Combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment. However, the EESC calls for more safeguards to protect users of digital means of payment and mandatory prevention measures to alert them to cybercriminals' ways of operating.

While welcoming the Commission's proposal, the opinion's rapporteur Victor Alistar flags up the need to go beyond investigative and judicial cooperation between national law enforcement authorities.

The EESC suggests that Member States be required to institute financial insurance to compensate the victims of cyberfraud involving payment cards. This financial insurance should cover both individuals and SMEs.

In addition, for the fight against cyberfraud to be effective, economic operators should be legally required to report cyberfraud incidents.

Cyberfraud involving digital means of payment issued in the euro area is a major issue. According to an ECB report, it amounted to EUR 1.4 billion in the EU in 2013. Since then, it has been on the rise.

One of the most vulnerable areas is the payment of travel expenses – train and plane tickets, accommodation and other related transactions. Among the people involved in or profiting from this type of cyberfraud are individuals and organisations engaged in terrorist activities.

Prevention should also play a role in combating cybercrime, in the EESC's view. The public should be alerted to the ways in which cybercriminals operate by forging digital means of payment, with law enforcement authorities in the Member States providing awareness-raising and information campaigns explaining the causes, risks and ways for individuals to protect themselves against cyberfraud.(dm)