Avoid skimming and phishing credit card fraud

RateCity Staff

RateCity Staff

( 5 min read )

While credit card institutions are employing the most advanced counter-fraud technology, criminals are still coming up with the latest skimming and phishing fraud schemes to abstract money from our wallets.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scam Watch highlights the signs which will alert you to credit card fraud and tips to help you avoid becoming subject to it.

There are four types of common credit card frauds:

  • Card-not-present fraud: A person who uses an unauthorised card over the phone or on the Internet.
  • Counterfeit card fraud: The production of fake or counterfeit cards obtained by skimming the details from legitimate credit cards.
  • Card-not-received fraud: Stealing a card from an authentic credit card holder.
  • Application fraud: Credit card applications using false identities.

While all credit card fraud is concerning, card skimming and phishing is becoming more rampant and harder to control.

What is credit card skimming?

Card skimming is the act of illegally copying information from the magnetic strip of a credit card.

Card skimming is done for two reasons; to copy your personal information in order to create a fake card, which they can then use to access and make payments from your account or to steal your identity.

Identify theft occurs when a thief steals your personal details in order to create accounts, borrow money or take out loans.

Spot skimming fraud

In store: Suspicion should be raised if a shop assistant disappears out of sight with your card, swipes your card through a different machine than the one you used or asks you to swipe your card through more than one machine. 

ATMs: If the ATM you are using looks abnormal or appears to have an extra device attached, do not use the machine and report it to the bank and Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Transaction record: Keep an eye out for unusual transactions as this is the easiest way to determine if someone has skimmed your card.

Protection tips

Passwords and disclosure play an important role in keeping your credit card safe. Do not share your credit card, PIN number or write your details down. Pick intricate passwords and check your transactions regularly.

What is credit card phishing?

Phishing scams are similar to skimming fraud but are conducted via the Internet or mobile phones.

Emails or SMS are sent to you, under the fake cover of legitimate institutions, asking you to verify your bank account or personal details, in order to trick you into giving over this information.

The scammer is trying to get your bank details, passwords or credit card numbers so that they can steal your money.

Spot phishing fraud

Spotting phishing fraud can be harder as they act as legitimate companies by copying company logos and creating similar Internet address’s (URL), however once you know what to look for you should easily be able to spot the legitimate from the fraud.

No prior account: If you receive an email or SMS from a financial institution that you have never held an account with and they are asking you to verify your account details, you can be guaranteed it’s a phishing scheme.

Email errors: Big red flags to look out for are grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or your name is not addressed correctly.

You’ve won: Be wary of any emails or SMS that tell you you’ve won a large sum of money. Chances are, if you haven’t entered into a specific competition of late, it’s not a legitimate email. They may also tell you that you are eligible for a refund or other fee that they claim has been charged to your account. It won’t take you long to verify these details by checking with your bank.

Verify your account: Some phishing scams claim your details are needed to verify your account in order to protect you from fraud. Always be very cautious about verifying your details, unless you are on a legitimate website. Remember, most companies will never ask you to verify your password via email so if you get an email asking for this, play it safe and call the company directly.

Protection tips

Here are a few tips you should follow to help you avoid the slimy world of phishing scams.

  • Never give out your credit card details unless it’s a website you trust or you have phoned the company directly. If they have called you claiming to be a trusted institution, grab their details and call them back.
  • Do not open suspicious emails. Delete them, flag them as phishing emails within your email account or report them to the Australian Communications and Media Authority. If you have opened the email, do no click on the links within it or open any attachments.
  • Don’t call numbers from spam emails or SMS.
  • Bookmark the legitimate Internet account links that you use regularly rather than following links in emails.
  • Check the website carefully and if you aren’t 100% sure don’t enter your credit card details. 
  • Do not send your credit card details via email or SMS.

By following these rules and knowing the signs to look out for you can enjoy safer, fun shopping. You’re never 100% safe from fraud so make sure you stay ahead of the fraud trends by reading up on the latest skimming and phishing scams.

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