Credit card fraud over the internet could cost on-line retailers millions over Christmas period, according to e-commerce security company, TrustMarque.

The company claims that up to £32 million of total global e-commerce revenues could be threatened by cyber fraud during December. Trustmarque has launched an on-line hotline offering free security advice to people operating e-commerce sales channels.

According to figures from market researcher BMRB, an extra 2.4 million British consumers will be shopping on-line during the Christmas period compared to 4.8 million on-line shoppers during the first eleven months of 1999.

Figures from NOP suggest that total global on-line spending during December alone will amount to £400 million. Traditional credit card authorisation checks detect only a small percentage of fraudulent orders, potentially leaving eight per cent or more of total transacted revenues at risk.

John Williams, chief executive at TrustMarque, said: " We are offering a complete service for any e-business developing a secure e-commerce strategy."