Your credit card can be an incredibly useful tool. It allows you to build a good credit report to make getting a home loan easier, gives you to access additional capital when needed and makes buying products online a breeze. However, as useful as they are for your finances, they can also be dangerous if not cared for properly.
Fraud is increasing
The number of instances of credit card fraud is going up in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that about one in 20 Australians over the age of 15 experienced credit card fraud from 2014-2015, compared to one in 25 from 2010-2011. Research from Veda highlights how people are becoming more comfortable with using credit cards as daily transaction accounts, opening more and more Australians up to the possibility of having their details stolen and misused.
This kind of theft can do a serious amount of damage to your finances. A quarter of those who the ABS reported suffered from credit fraud lost between $101 to $500, and even more (29 per cent) lost between $501 to $5,000. Considering that card fraud was reported by the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) as being valued at more than $380 million in 2015, there is clearly big money to be made for unscrupulous individuals.
Identify your risks
Are you at risk of credit fraud? According to ABS statistics, it appears that fraudsters were three times more likely to target people who were earning over $2,000 a week compared to those earning under $500, probably because those with a higher income tend to have a higher credit limit. Married people were also more likely to be targeted, as were those from 25 to 54 years old.
If you fit these criteria, you need to be particularly careful with your credit card safety. Considering the majority of fraudulent transactions reported by APCA occurred when the card was not present, it is imperative you keep both your card number and particularly your security code private.
Lost and stolen cards are also very commonly used for fraud. Also be very cautious when overseas and using your credit card – APCA reported that your card is far more likely to be skimmed or counterfeited while overseas than in Australia.
Credit card fraud is on the rise, so if you think you have been a victim, make sure you get into contact with Police Bank as soon as possible!