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Credit card fraud in Australia: Card-not-present crime skyrockets

Australia's love of online shopping and the move towards an increasingly cashless society have seen an explosion in credit card fraud.

Analysis by consumer comparison website found 'card-not-present' fraud rose a staggering 76 percent in the 12 months to June 30, 2018, to 1.8 million dodgy transactions.

"It's a bigger increase than I expected," says Angus Kidman, editor-in-chief at

"I do not know that people realize how prevalent it is. I think we're aware that it's a problem – we hear about attempted fraud with credit cards – but the volume of fraud is huge. "

The value of card-not-present crime rose 7.8 percent to $ 478 million, and now account for 85 percent of all credit card frauds.

Typically, Australians fall victim when they enter their details on dodgy sites operated by scammers that aim to trick people into thinking they're on a legit page.

In some cases, the data of reputable operators is hacked and stolen.

"Often times, they will do a small transaction to see if the card works and then buy a bunch of physical goods to get them delivered as quickly as possible," he said.

"These criminals run it like a business – it's a very well-organized approach rather than a random individual having a go at a fraud."

Banks use sophisticated systems to intercept fraudulent transactions and will typically reimburse the swiped amount.

"It's not flawless though, which is why it's important to be vigilant," Mr Kidman said.

Even though banks will waive the amount stolen, the faster fraud is detected and acted on, the better.

If they do not detect the criminal activity, it can be a headache to sort it out when – and if – you eventually discover it yourself.

"It's boring and tedious, but it's worth looking at your statements and transactions to see if there's anything there that should not be. The ideal habit is to be through your transactions. "

Justine Davies from Canstar said that it's almost impossible to completely avoid being a victim of credit card fraud but there are steps that consumers can take to minimize the risk.

A big one is to safely dispose of personal documents, including bank statements and any other bits and pieces that contain identification details.

"If you are disposing of any documents that include personal details, make sure you shred or otherwise destroy them – soaking them in the water – before tossing them into the bin," said Ms Davies.

When shopping online, only trust reputable outlets and avoid websites that look dishy or do not offer secure payment facilities.

Criminal syndicates regularly target ATMs, installing false panels that contain cameras and skimming devices that allow them to replicate your cards.

Instances of card skimming and replication were down 45 percent in the year to June 30, 2018, but they still happen.

Watch out for machines that look dodgy or have anything that looks out of place. Ms Davies said it's worth covering the keypad when you enter your PIN.

"Statistics show online hacking has overtaken other forms of financial fraud," she said.

"So it can be a good idea to keep the virus and security software on your computers and mobile devices updated, and try to avoid visiting or buying from websites that have questionable security.

"And it goes without saying to do your best to avoid clicking on links in scam emails."

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