Credit card scam revealed

New South Wales police have arrested 12 suspects in a crackdown on two multi-million-dollar credit card fraud syndicates based in Sydney. The suspects married stolen overseas credit card details with counterfeit cards which were then used in Australia and overseas to fraudulently obtain goods and cash.

Police said the arrests were just “the tip of the iceberg” with fraud now costing every Australian about $2,000 a year, or $4 billion in total.

Credit card and identity fraud is a fast-growing crime and has developed into a huge criminal industry across borders. A favoured method is skimming of card details by criminals working in restaurants and service stations with the details from legitimate cards being transferred to fake cards. Another more complex method involves the “identity theft” of large companies' executives. Luxury cars and equipment are leased in the executives' names and then sold overseas.

Police say organised crime syndicates are bringing people into Australia on temporary or student visas to commit the fraud. Retailer Harvey Norman says it catches at least five credit card fraudsters every week.

Find out how to maintain card security as fraud grows

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