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Scams on the rise – how you can protect your money

Scams on the rise – how you can protect your money

Worrying new figures from the Australian Banking Association show 37% of Australians have lost money to a scam, or have a family member, or close friend, who has.

The research also found:

  • 92% of Australian adults have been exposed to a scam or fraud in the past year.
  • 66% deal with a scam attempt every week.
  • 29% fend off a scam attempt every day.
  • 34% know someone who has lost more than $150,000 to a scam.

RateCity supports the ABA public awareness campaign that aims to educate and help prevent Australians from being ripped-off by scams.

Research director at RateCity, Sally Tindall, said: “Many Australians don’t realise how common financial scams are until they, or someone they love, gets hit.”

“Financial scams are getting more sophisticated every day. Many unsuspecting Australians are being duped by unsolicited text messages, emails or phone calls that can sometimes seem legitimate,” she said.

“If someone calls or texts claiming to be from your bank and asks for your account details or other personal information, know it is most likely a scam. If you’re worried, call your bank directly on a number provided on their website.”

“The quicker you pick up the fraud the better. Check your bank statements regularly, and if you see a purchase or transaction you don’t remember, query it.”

“Often it could be a shop with a different trading name, but if not, you need to report it so you can hopefully get your money back.”

“Keeping track of your credit score is a good way to double check you haven’t fallen victim to a scam. If your score goes down for no reason, you can get a copy of your credit file and see if there’s any suspicious activity on it,” she said.

What to do if you suspect you’ve been hacked?

  1. Check your card and bank statements regularly – If you notice any unusual purchases on your statement, report it to your bank. Banks take fraud seriously and will try to recover any lost money for you.
  2. Get a free copy of your credit history – Check that all personal information, including loans and debts listed, are correct. It’s free to request a copy of your credit file every 12 months.
  3. Fix any errors – If something is wrong or out of date, contact the reporting agency and ask them to fix it. It’s a free service, and if any loans or debts in your report aren’t correct, contact the bank immediately.
  4. Report it – It’s important to notify the appropriate agency (this will depend on the type of scam - it could be your bank, the ACCC Scamwatch, ASIC, Centrelink/Medicare, or the Police) so they can investigate and warn the community to take action.

How to protect yourself from financial scams

  • Use strong passwords - Make it harder for scammers to hack.
  • Be careful when shopping online – Only shop on websites that you trust and make sure the website is secure. It will show a closed padlock or key in the URL. 
  • Check your credit score regularly – If you notice any unexpected changes to your score, it could be a red flag that something is wrong and should be investigated.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi – If using a public Wi-Fi network, don’t send or receive sensitive information or login to your banking or social media accounts.
  • Review your privacy and security settings on social media – If you use social networking sites like Facebook or Instagram, review your options for privacy.

Did you find this helpful? Why not share this news?

This article was reviewed by Research Director Sally Tindall before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about credit cards

How long does a credit card fraud investigation take?

If you’re wondering how long a credit card fraud investigation takes, you should realise that each institution will have its own process for investigating fraud. This means that the time it takes to resolve disputes can also vary, and it all depends on your card issuer. In general, however, it can take anywhere from 21 days to 90 days. 

The basic process involves raising a dispute about the transaction or transactions that you think were due to credit card fraud with your bank. If you succeed, any money you’ve lost due to this fraud will likely be credited to your account within three business days after the investigation is concluded. The time taken to credit money to your account may vary due to the type of dispute you’ve raised and if the business that the transaction was made with decides to challenge your claim. Some card disputes are known to take up to 45 days.

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.

How do I transfer money from my Commonwealth bank credit card to my bank account?

Your Commonwealth bank credit card may include a cash advance benefit, but you won't be able to transfer money to your bank account. 

You can, however, withdraw cash from your credit card at an ATM. You should remember that you have to pay a fee for such transactions, and you’ll be charged interest from the day you withdraw the cash. 

Unlike other credit card transactions, you don’t get an interest-free repayment period for cash advances. Also, you may not be able to access your full credit card limit for a cash advance.

How to increase your Bendigo Bank credit card limit?

As a Bendigo Bank credit cardholder, you can avail a minimum limit of $500, but if you use your card regularly, you may want to consider increasing it. To increase your Bendigo Bank credit card limit, you can contact the bank’s credit card team on 1300 236 344 and talk to the bank directly.

You can also apply for a credit card limit increase through online banking, by logging into Bendigo Bank web portal or through the app on your phone or tablet. Once you’ve successfully logged in, you'll want  to send a secure message to Bendigo Bank asking them to increase your credit card limit. 

If you cannot access the online portal or the app, you can also apply to increase your credit card limit through the online enquiry form. Simply add relevant information in the required fields and click ‘Submit’. Once you have completed the application, Bendigo Bank should verify your details and analyse your current financial standing. Based on this assessment, the bank will either accept your application to increase your credit card limit or deny it. 

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

How to increase your Heritage credit card limit?

Heritage credit card holders can increase their card limits, and typically without any hassles. There are two limits applied to your credit card: your account transfer limit and your credit card limit, each of which has a separate limit.

To increase your Heritage credit card limit, you can contact Heritage on 13 14 22. Unfortunately, you cannot opt to increase your credit card limit online due to security reasons. 

You can, however, request to increase your daily account transfer limit and BPAY® to up to $40,000 per day easily through Heritage Online. To do this,  you'll need to first ensure that your credit card limit is more than $40,000. If it is lower, you’ll need to first ask Heritage for an increase in your credit card limit. 

  • It’s important to note that once you change your credit limit, the daily periodic rate and corresponding annual percentage rate will change as well. This is likely to come into effect on the first day of each billing cycle that begins in March, June, September, and December. The effect of an increase in the annual percentage rate and the daily periodic rate will lead to an increased amount of interest you will have to cover in your monthly payment. 

What coverage does Coles credit card insurance offer?

Most customers who own a Coles credit card may be eligible for complimentary purchase protection insurance, but low rate card owners won’t receive this benefit. 

Some premium credit cards issued by Coles include transit accident insurance and extended warranty cover in addition to purchase protection insurance. Covered items paid for at least partially with your Coles credit card usually qualify for purchase protection insurance.

However, you may only be eligible for transit accident and extended warranty coverage if the entire travel cost or purchase price is billed to the eligible card. Additionally, the extended warranty coverage matches the manufacturer’s warranty up to a maximum of five years. If your credit card offers extended warranty, but the covered item comes with a six-year warranty, you're unlikely to receive the benefit.

How to increase your HSBC credit card limit

You can opt to increase your HSBC credit card limit in multiple ways. 

The easiest way to change your HSBC credit card limit is through online banking. Log on to your account and click on ‘Manage your account’. Then, click on ‘My Cards’ and choose to change your credit card limit. Simply complete the HSBC credit card limit increase form and click on ‘Submit’. 

You can also request to increase your credit card limit by calling HSBC’s customer service hotline on 1300 303 168. 

Lastly, you can visit any HSBC branch to apply to lift your card limit. 

If you are facing challenges while trying to complete an HSBC credit card credit limit increase online, you can chat with a representative using internet banking. Click on the ‘Need Help’ button on the right of the dashboard and open the chat window to speak with the customer service officer. 

What is the CUA credit card increase limit process?

A credit limit is pre-assigned based on factors like your income, expenses, and debt by the card-issuing company. It varies from time to time based on credit utilisation and changes to your circumstances.

If your income has increased or your liabilities have reduced, you can request for an increase of your CUA credit card limit. You can lodge the request via online banking on the website, or by visiting the closest branch, or by downloading the application form and mailing it. While making the application, you may need to provide information about your income, employment status, desired limit, and the reason for the increase. The card-issuing company will assess your request before approval.

Before you apply for an increase to the credit limit, ensure your bills are paid in full and you aren’t asking for a very steep enhancement.

How to increase your Qantas Premier credit card limit

When your income or spending habits change, you might wish to increase your credit card limit. The Qantas Premier credit card allows you to do this over the phone. You can contact Qantas Premier Card Support by calling on 1300 992 700. Unlike some other credit providers, Qantas doesn’t give you the option to increase your limit online.

Qantas will only accept your application if you have a good history of repayment and have not increased your credit or bought another credit product from Qantas in the past six months.

Before approving your Qantas Premier credit card limit increase, Qantas will perform a credit assessment on your current financial circumstances and ask why you would like to increase your credit limit.

To ensure that there are no bumps in your application process, you must provide accurate and recent information about your financial situation. You should also account for any future changes you’re anticipating which could hinder your ability to repay the loan.

Once the assessment is complete, Qantas will either approve or deny your application. If they approve it, you will need to sign a credit limit increase agreement - and you can request a written copy of the credit assessment. However, if your application is rejected, Qantas can opt not to provide a copy of the assessment.

Do I get HSBC credit card insurance on purchases I make?

As an HSBC credit card (HSBC Platinum, HSBC Platinum Qantas and HSBC Premier World) cardholder, you may be entitled to complimentary international and domestic travel insurance. This HSBC credit card insurance covers you for hospital stays and medical expenses, flight cancellations or delays, as well as lost luggage or personal items.

To be eligible for the insurance, you should have paid for at least 90 per cent of your overseas return travel ticket with your HSBC credit card. The cover is automatically activated without a need to contact HSBC. However, it’s always best to let your card issuer know when you travel overseas. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, you’ll need to contact Allianz directly to organise cover for these as they aren’t covered by the insurance. You can call Allianz on 1800 648 093.

The complimentary international travel insurance that comes with your HSBC Platinum credit card is valid for up to four months from the date of your departure from Australia. Your HSBC credit card insurance cover also covers your spouse and dependent children if 90 per cent of their travel ticket is purchased using your HSBC card.

 

Increase your credit card limit with Westpac

You can apply to increase your Westpac credit card credit limit at any time, and most credit card providers have made it really easy to do so. You can use your online banking portal, the credit card provider’s mobile app, or even the telephone. 

Applying online to increase your credit limit with Westpac is the easiest option if you’ve already activated Westpac Live Online Banking. All you need to do is fill in the required information and then hit ‘submit’ to apply for an increase in your credit card limit.

Most banks will ask for details of your financial situation at the time of applying for a credit increase. This is done to ensure your new limit meets the lender’s criteria. 

You can apply for increasing your credit limit in any of the following ways:

  1. Visiting your nearest Westpac branch
  2. Calling Westpac on 1300 651 089
  3. Logging in on Westpac Live Online Banking

How to increase the NAB credit card limit?

If you use your NAB credit card regularly, you could consider requesting a higher credit limit. The good news is that it's fairly easy to do so using either the NAB app or NAB internet banking. 

NAB app: 

  • Step 1: Download the latest version of the NAB app.
  • Step 2: Select the ‘My Cards’ menu. 
  • Step 3: Select the card you want to increase the credit limit for. 
  • Step 4: Select ‘Usage Controls’ and then click on ‘Change Credit Limit’.

NAB internet banking: 

  • Step 1: Log into your account. 
  • Step 2: Choose the ‘My Cards’ menu. 
  • Step 3: Choose the card for which you want to increase the limit. 
  • Step 4: Choose ‘Change My Credit Card Limit’.  

If you don’t have the NAB app or cannot access NAB internet banking, you can even visit your local branch or call their contact center. 

Once you’ve applied to increase your NAB credit card limit, you’re likely to be asked for your

  • current employment details  
  • total income, before and after-tax deductions  
  • assets, liabilities, and expenses information

NAB will then assess this information to determine if your current financial situation suits the increased credit limit request, and your application will either be accepted or denied.

However, this process will only work if you’re attempting to increase your personal NAB credit card limit. For a business credit card, you can contact the NAB Corporate & Business Servicing team or speak to your NAB relationship manager. 

Can I transfer money from my American Express credit card to my bank account?

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may not be able to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account. However, you may be eligible for cash advances, which involves withdrawing money through an ATM. 

To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll likely have to enrol for American Express Membership Rewards. Consider checking your online credit card account to see if you can withdraw a cash advance and, if so, the fees and charges you’ll incur for this transaction. 

You should remember that cash advances are different from balance transfers, which were available with some American Express credit cards earlier. Balance transfers allow customers to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards to a credit card offering a lower interest rate. If you only recently applied for an American Express credit card, balance transfers may not be available irrespective of the card you own.