Card scams are on the rise in Australia again

The rate of card fraud is booming. $469 million worth of fraudulent card transactions were recorded in Australia in 2015 according to the Australian Payments Clearing Association’s latest Australian Payments Fraud report.

The rate of card fraud has jumped up significantly from 58.8 cents per $1,000 spent in 2014 to 66.8 cents. Most of this increase is due to “card not present” fraud” which mainly refers to online purchases. 79 per cent of all card fraud (by value) is “card not present” fraud.

That means that criminals are moving away from trying to steal your credit or debit card and use it or copy it. Card chip technology is making that kind of crime increasingly difficult. Now they are trying to steal your card details and use those details online to steal your cash or make transactions using your money or credit.

“Counterfeit fraud is dropping in Australia,” said Andy White from APCA, “criminals are moving online.”

How can I protect my card from fraud?

All banks and credit unions are actively fighting card fraud and other kinds of cybercrime. And if you are a victim of fraud, you are entitled to have the money taken from you repaid in full by your bank or credit union. Simple precautions you can take include:

1.    Ensure your computer is protected by security software.

2.    Only use your card on secure websites with a locked padlock symbol.

3.    Check your account statements and report suspicious transactions to your bank immediately.

4.    Enquire about your financial institution’s online fraud prevention solutions.

 Which bank has the safest card fraud protection system?

All banks and credit unions have active teams ans systems monitoring your transactions looking for suspicious activity. Some banks promote these teams claiming their systems are better placed to identify criminal attacks. For example, ANZ Bank says its’ ‘Falcon’ monitoring service will contact you if they detect an unusual transaction:

“You can feel confident using your ANZ card whether you’re making a contactless payment for your groceries, shopping online or buying a train ticket in Paris.”

Westpac says they have “best practice solutions in place to help protect and reduce incidents of fraud” and they use a Westpac branded secure payments symbol for merchants using Westpac for online transactions.

Commonwealth Bank claims to be the only Australian bank that lets you “lock, block and limit your credit card instantly” via their app or online banking portal. This allows the user to lock international payments, block ATM cash withdrawals or limit spending on your credit card.

The credit union card service provider, CUSCAL, says they “maintain the highest standards of data and information security.”

You can research and compare credit cards from all of Australia’s significant banks and credit unions here.


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