Card fraud on the slide

Recent figures released by the Australian Payments Clearance Association (APCA) show that credit and debit card fraud may have dropped in the twelve months to June this year.

Card fraud on the slide

Recent figures released by the Australian Payments Clearance Association (APCA) show that credit and debit card fraud may have dropped in the twelve months to June this year. Card fraud amounted to $285 million in the 2011-12 financial year, down from the $305 million reported from December 2010 to December 2011.

At $263 million, credit cards accounted for 97 per cent of the total and debit cards the remaining 3 per cent, or $22 million. While this amount is large, an amazing $1.8 trillion was spent in the 2011–12 financial year on cards and cheques according to the APCA. The average amount by which people are defrauded also fell, from $365 to $225, a result of criminals trying to disguise the fraudulent transactions amongst legitimate spending.

Transactions completed by mail or phone using cards are most susceptible to fraud, but as Australians adapt more to online shopping, more challenges are faced. Fraudulent dealings over the internet are often with nameless, untraceable companies and organisations, which often have no physical address.

Chief Executive of the APCA Chris Hamilton said, ''We understand there has been an increase in skimming activity at ATMs, in petrol stations and in taxis. Consumers can help stay safe by keeping their card in sight when making payments and always covering their hand when entering their PIN at point-of-sale terminals and ATMs.''


Opinion: It pays to be vigilant

Reports that credit and debit card fraud have dropped appear at first reading to be good news. However, before you start throwing your plastic around, you should be aware of the dangers.

Anyone who has had their card skimmed, cloned, or paid for goods only to have them not turn up, will understand how frustrating and confusing this can be. Many people believe they are savvy to the ways of the world and would spot a con as soon as look at it, but people are still getting caught out. And this is the reason why any figures quoted on credit and debit card fraud need to be looked at more closely. The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce states on its website, ‘Although estimates have been made of the total cost of fraud and also identity-related fraud, we simply do not know how many consumers are victimised through scams and how much money they have lost. Many consumers also don't report their experiences to the police, which makes calculations based on official crime statistics even less reliable.’ If this is accepted as the norm, then how can any figures be reported as credible?

Each week a new scam is reported, and as soon as a scam is uncovered and publicised, scammers move on to their next target. Scammers are unscrupulous and also, in most cases, incredibly clever. Using technology most of us can only dream of, they can access your personal data, get details of your credit and bank cards and take you for as much money as they think they can get away with. We are expected to rejoice that the average amount taken has reduced from $365 to $225, but how many people can afford to have any amount taken from their account?

With Christmas just around the corner, the opportunities for scammers to catch people out are multiple. More people are shopping online for bargains, people feel more benevolent to hard luck stories and the chance to make a few extra dollars can be all to appealing. So, before you hand over your hard-earned cash for goods, services or charity, make sure you know what you’re doing by reading Drew’s Top five tips for staying safe online.

Have you been the victim of a fraud you didn’t report? Do you feel safe using your credit or debit card online?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    12th Dec 2012
    Our credit society immediately suspended our card when someone tried to use it for a hotel in the US. They were on to it straight away. A bit of inconvenience for us but worth it.
    We NEVER use ATMs, always the post office or the supermakerts,
    12th Dec 2012
    I would never use the post office again after they charged me $ 2.50 for a cash withdrawal using my debit card after paying for a parcel to be sent, Their response when queried was that they are operating as a bank other than Bank of Queensland
    Pass the Ductape
    12th Dec 2012
    I detest purchasing anything online for this very reason, so I only do so when I cannot get the item I am chasing any other way - and I only use Paypal as a means of paying for goods online when I do. At least then you have reasonable protection - even if it does take weeks to reclaim your money if need be. Companies that do not take advantage of the PayPal system need to get with the program because I know of several people who refuse to do business with companies who don't offer this service. Accepting credit card details as the only option for payent opens up the card holder to any number of scammers - from all directions.
    Pass the Ductape
    12th Dec 2012
    I don't follow Peepo - do you mean you only use your card at post offices and supermarkets? Not for me I'm afraid. Too many variables at a supermarket I tend to use an ATM only - after giving it the once over - and withdraw enough cash for the day or week.
    Now for a bit of a whinge and I wonder if I have any sympathisers out there?
    At my age, I don't have a lot of time left upon this earth, so I get totally sick of having to stand in line as credit card holders try to get their act together when fronting the cashier. You’d think they'd have the damn things out ready to place into the card reader when the time came wouldn't you, but NO....they leave it in their purse, or pocket, or where-ever, until they know the total price - THEN they bring it out! Often it's the WRONG ONE......AND THEN WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE WHOLE FLAMIN' PROCESS AGAIN, DON'T WE!?

    It takes three or four times longer to process a customer through the checkout when a credit card is used - and you know the worst thing? The other card carrying customers waiting in line - DO THE SAME THING!!!!
    THEY JUST DON'T SEEM TO GET IT! Grrrrrrrr! It is sooooo maddening!

    I swear - by the time I get to the cashier sometimes, (desperate to pay cash and get the hell out of the place) one could have gone outside; bought a newspaper and read their own name in the obituary column....... Credit card users - I hope they slap a 20% surcharge on every purchase. But that’s just me!
    12th Dec 2012
    Totally agree, for some customers it really seems to be a surprise to them that a payment has to be made. Then there's the customer who looks like they have poured their piggybank into their purse and carefully coin by coin add them up to make a payment.
    14th Dec 2012
    I disagree with you completely about only paying by Paypal. If I see a service that ONLY offers paypal then I won't deal with them. I have been buying online through different options since Ebay first started and not only buy in Australia but overseas as well. I don't use a credit card but a Visa debit card therefore the only money you can lose is the money that you have in the account so you only have a small amount it there at a time. Most banks now offer debit cards ( and I don't mean the ones you buy from the PO etc as they have an expiry date).
    I rarely use ATM's either as I get money when I purchase e.g at the supermarket. I could use ATM as my bank (Suncorp) doesn't charge over 55's any fees but prefer to use it this way. So much easier and safer then ATM's.
    As for people paying by credit card and taking a long time, I think this is too much of a generalisation, I certainly have my card ready to make a payment as I am sure many other people do. I love the self service checkouts now popping up everywhere and will prefer to go to them at supermarkets. People need to get with all the changes happening and embrace them as you can't stop progress

    17th Dec 2012
    Then Ductape use the fast check out for 8 items or less as like me, many have full trolley big shop and put it on the belt whilst watching the operator and also whilst making sure no one making off with already packed bags ready for me still loading then get the trolley up to till to pay so only then time to get out the card etc. after also having already tendered the loyalty card and then of course the other vouchers if Coles shoppers for extra flybuy points too.

    Been told that the left wing paper, The Age, doesn't always tell the truth, proven it seems from that article, as credit card fraud is on the up not going down and card skimming by overseas mobs coming to rip us off with nasty bits added to ATM s worse than ever. Police are continually warning us to watch out. maybe since they support the left wing government of the day - trying to excuse no action on stopping these gangs coming in on top of no action stopping smugglers boats too.

    Good advice to use Pay pal on line too.

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