How to avoid credit card fraud – what you can do

You can be a victim of credit card fraud at any time. Here’s some precautions you can take to protect your wallet from scammers.

On average Aussies collectively put over 195.5 million transactions, worth about $24.4 billion, through their credit card each month. That’s right – each month, according to RBA figures from July 2016. That’s a big lure for fraudsters and scammers who are consistently on the lookout for a piece of the financial fraud action. Sadly, the latest figures show that in fact credit card fraud is on the rise.

How can you avoid being a victim of skimming and other credit card scams? While there’s no foolproof way to guarantee that you will never be a victim of credit card fraud, there are ways to reduce your risk. These include:

1. Don’t throw personal documents into the bin

If you are disposing of any documents that include personal details, make sure you shred or otherwise destroy them (e.g. soak them in water) before tossing them into the bin. Buying a home shredder can be a great investment!

2. Keep your mail secure and protected as well

Buying a lock for your letter box (or using a PO Box) can also be a good idea. And if you’re going to be away for a while on holidays or otherwise, make sure you either put a hold on your mail or have someone collect it for you regularly.

3. Read your own mail and financial statements

How often do you get a credit card statement and toss it onto a “to be read later/never” pile? Get into the habit of opening all your financial statements and checking them carefully for any sign of suspicious activity or financial fraud. That goes for your other bank accounts and your superannuation fund as well!

Read mail

4. Check your credit history regularly

Try GetCreditScore or Veda’s My Credit File to obtain a free copy of your credit history. This will alert you to any attempts to apply for credit in your name. You can learn how to check your credit rating and why it is important for you here.

5. Be cautious when buying online

We all love shopping online – but be cautious about who you share your credit card details with. Better yet, use a secure payment system such as PayPal to ensure your confidentiality online.

6. Keep the ATM keypad covered

When entering your PIN, cover the ATM keypad, and be aware of who is around you.

7. Always know where your card is

New contactless NFC technology such as Tap & Go, payWave, and PayPass makes petty theft very easy if someone comes across your card. So keep it secure at all times and if you lose it, report it straight away. Check our guide on what to do if you lose your credit card.

8. Stay protected

These days, the statistics show online hacking has overtaken straightforward financial fraud. So it’s absolutely vital that you make sure you keep the virus and security software on your computers and mobile devices updated.

And it goes without saying to avoid clicking on links in scam emails. Here’s a list of the top online scams in 2015, and specific online banking scams to look out for.

9. Never give credit card details over the phone

If you need to make a payment or want to donate to a charity, do it online via a secure payment method, because credit card scammers can access your information over the phone if they impersonate another institution.

Do not give credit card info over phone

10. Report it if you have been scammed

If you think that you may have been scammed, let your financial institution know ASAP and report it to both the Police and the ACCC (via Scamwatch).

If you think you’re being scammed in terms of how much interest you’re paying on your credit card, that’s where we can be the most help. Compare your credit card options on our website:

Compare Credit Cards

Learn more about Credit Cards

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