As online shopping surges,
avoid falling prey to online fraud.
The rate of debit and credit card fraud is soaring. One in 15 Aussies became the
victim of a credit or debit card fraud over the past year, with losses incurred
increasing by 50 per cent, to $278 million. Remarkably, we are faring much
better than Britain or the US, where one in 10 are falling victim to card fraud.
But there's no cause for complacency as criminals come up with ever more
sophisticated schemes to take our hard-earned cash.
'As technology advances and customers' payment patterns change, so too does
criminal behaviour,' says Steven Munchenberg, Chief Executive of the Australian
Bankers' Association (ABA). Banks and retailers are responding to fraud with
better tracking software, to detect fraudulent spending sooner, smarter cards
with chips and other innovations. But there's a lot that we, as consumers, can
do to prevent ourselves becoming victims in the first place.
NEVER REVEAL YOUR PIN or account details.
If you have not contributed to the fraud, Australian banks will currently refund
your losses. But under the Electronic Funds Transfer Code of Conduct, they are
not obliged to if you have revealed your PIN or password. Most credit card fraud
losses occur in transactions without a PIN, where the cardholder and retailer
did not meet face to face. That's principally online or on the phone.
INSTALL anti-virus software on your computer. And keep it up to date.
You'll also need anti-spyware software and a good firewall. Most operating
systems come with one built in so make sure it's activated.
Always immediately delete SPAM emails or texts, and don't respond.
Most people are aware of the common frauds - that you've won a foreign lottery
or will receive a hefty commission if you assist with moving a large sum of
money. Less common are email, phone or text requests to update your bank account
details, fix your computer, unlock your super or an amazing job offer or
NEVER click on a link in an email when you are not certain of the sender. Shred
personal documents especially offers for credit cards or increases to credit
USE PAYPAL for internet transactions or a low-limit credit or debit card that
you use only online.
Lock your letterbox to prevent thieves stealing information to create a false
identity with your mail.
CHECK YOUR STATEMENTS as soon as you receive them.
If you are the victim of card fraud, don't panic. Report it to the police and
your financial institution as soon as possible. It may be unpleasant but you are
unlikely to be out of pocket in the long run.