Despite concerted efforts by banks to fight fraud, figures released in December by the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) showed credit card fraud reached $210 million last financial year, up by $39 million from the previous year.
This rise in credit card fraud was partly fuelled by an increase in card-not-present (CNP) fraud, according to APCA – when you use your credit card to buy online, over the phone or by mail. As more and more Australians discover the ease and benefits of online shopping, it is important to also be aware of the need to shop safely.
Steven Münchenberg, chief executive of the Australian Bankers’ Association, advised shoppers to do their homework before parting with their credit card details. “Before proceeding to the online cash register, it’s important that you do some research on the merchant, so that you can be confident that you are transacting with a business you can trust and a business that will protect your personal information, including your credit or debit card details,” he said.
“When buying online, sometimes businesses request large amounts of information they don’t need, so think about limiting the amount of information before providing it. Never send your credit card number by email. Emails are not secure.”
Banks and credit card providers are constantly working to improve credit card security through security measures such as MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa. And when fraud occurs, customers are not liable for losses where it is clear they did not contribute to the loss.
To ensure you are always protected, follow these simple tips to avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud:
- Don’t send your card number via email
- When shopping online, check the website has an “s” after the http in the address bar. This means the site uses protective encryption technology to relay your information across the internet. Also look for a closed padlock in the address bar
- Never access a website by clicking on a link in an email
- Avoid using public computers – for example, internet cafes and libraries – for internet banking
- Consider using a phishing filter to warn you of suspicious websites
- If your card is lost or stolen, notify your bank immediately. It can block your card to prevent other people using it. If you’re heading overseas, make sure you have the global emergency number
- Notify your bank when you change address to ensure your bank statements don’t fall in the wrong hands
- Check your credit card statements regularly, to refute any unauthorised charges
- Ask your bank for a PIN on your credit card – PINs are more secure than signatures.