HomeFinanceCard fraud on the rise

Card fraud on the rise

In amongst all the high-tech scams being perpetrated these days, there’s an old-fashioned crime that’s still a threat to Australians. Card fraud is on the rise, according to the latest figures delivered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

An ABS news release published yesterday revealed an estimated 1.8 million Australians aged over 15 experienced card fraud in 2022-23. That was an increase of 8.1 per cent on the corresponding 2021-22 figures. 

William Milne, ABS head of crime and justice statistics, said: “The Personal Fraud Survey found that 8.7 per cent of people experienced card fraud in 2022-23.” The range of the fraud in dollar terms was wide. While 34 per cent of card fraud victims lost under $100, 18 per cent had more than $1000 fraudulently spent.

“The median amount that was fraudulently withdrawn or spent was around $200 for each card fraud incident,” said Mr Milne.

Nearly all people (98 per cent) who experienced card fraud notified (or were notified by) an authority about the incident. In 92 per cent of cases, that authority was a bank or financial institution.

What exactly constitutes card fraud?

The ABS definition of card fraud involves the use of credit, debit, or EFTPOS card without the account owner’s permission. These details are used by scammers to make purchases or withdraw cash. 

In some cases, then, the scammer might not have or even see your card, but have obtained its details. A credit card number, an expiry date and a CVV (Card Verification Value) is usually enough to make a purchase.

Eagle-eyed fraudsters may have recorded or memorised those details while looking over your shoulder. Or the scammers may have obtained the details of multiple card owners through nefarious means such as the ‘dark web’.

Not just cards

Card fraud isn’t the only type of scam to which Aussies are falling victim. The ABS statistics revealed that half a million Australians fell victim to scams in 2022-23. That’s 2.5 per cent of people in Australia aged 15 years or older.

“Buying or selling scams, which includes things like false billing and online shopping scams, were the most common,” said Mr Milne. Nearly 200,000 Australians were affected in this way.

Over two-thirds (69 per cent) of scam victims notified (or were notified by) an authority about the incident, most commonly a bank or financial institution (49 per cent).

A disturbing 199,100 Australians (1.0 per cent of the over-15 population) experienced identity theft and 434,300 experienced online impersonation. 

Who’s more likely to be a card fraud victim?

The ABS found that married Australians were more likely (9.8 per cent) than unmarried (7.1 per cent) to be scammed. Those living in capital cities (9.1 per cent) were also shown to be at greater risk than those living outside these cities (7.7 per cent).

Counterintuitively, those with a certificate, diploma or degree (10.0 per cent) were scammed more than those without (6.3 per cent). Perhaps less surprisingly, the top 20 per cent of Australians by weekly household income were the most common victims. 

While you might not be in one of the higher percentage groups, the risk of card fraud and other scams remains ever-present. Make sure you take all relevant precautions when using a card and when online. 

Have you been the victim of card fraud? Do you feel you know how to protect yourself from being scammed?

Also read: Branch closures and bank scams – is there a link?

Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for the ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

Andrew Gigacz
Andrew Gigaczhttps://www.patreon.com/AndrewGigacz
Andrew has developed knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income and government entitlements, as well as issues affecting older Australians moving into or living in retirement. He's an accomplished writer with a passion for health and human stories.


  1. I’ve had 2 fraudulent transactions on my card in the past two years. One over $200 and one just a few dollars. In both cases, I picked them up myself. Reported to bank straight away. The bank’s fraud department dealt with them immediately. My money was returned because of the fraud department’s actions. It did mean my card had to be cancelled and a new one issued, took about 10 days. Now my daughter understands why I check my account balance daily! Also I now have a small account with a different bank. If I’m waiting on a new card, that’s a life saver.

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