Card fraud costing Aussies $2.1 billion

Patricia Babalis

Patricia Babalis

Card fraud is on the rise with the nation experiencing $2.1 billion worth of fraud during the 2014-15 period according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This figure is double the $1 billion of fraud committed in 2010-11, showing a scary rise in the prevalence of this type of crime.

While financial institutions reimbursed customers the bulk of the amount, just over one million Aussies were still left $84.8 million out of pocket as a result of fraud. This is the largest amount of consumers who have been the victim of card fraud, identity theft or scams since the ABS first began this survey in 2007.

The one positive side to this story is that approximately half the people who said they had experienced personal fraud had changed their behaviour as a result of the experience.

So what behaviours can you adopt to stop yourself becoming a victim?

If you’d rather not wait until you get caught out to up your credit card security then there are some steps you can take pre-emptively.

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Be cautious

Scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated and brazen in the ways they attempt to get your credit card details to make fraudulent purchases. In particular, scammers will often send emails or call you pretending to be from your bank or the government and ask you for details such as your bank account number and security questions.

To prevent yourself from being caught out you should know that your bank and the government will never contact you via email or phone to ask for your account details. No matter how professional the email looks or they sound on the phone you should feel confident in telling them you will not be giving out your details.

Look for the lock

When entering your card details online you may have noticed that some sites have a little lock next to their address in the address bar. This lock indicates that their site has been reviewed by a third party authority and has been deemed secure to hold information such as passwords and credit card details.

When online shopping, look for the lock before you make a purchase and be incredibly wary of sites that do not have this security standard. Also, look for the lock when you’re on your bank’s site, a government site or any other site that you will be giving sensitive information to. Sometimes you may find that, even though you’re on a legitimate looking site, there’s no lock and this should be an immediate red flag that a scam may be at work.

Check your statements

While checking your bank statements regularly won’t stop you being a victim of fraud it will help you catch it sooner and report it to your bank. Once you have flagged the purchase as fraudulent your bank will be able to assist in cancelling the card or account that has been compromised and refunding the money where they are able.

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