Credit card fraud in Australia is continuously proliferating. It has grown more rapidly in the last 10 years. According to the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), skimming or counterfeiting of credit cards by unscrupulous parties cost Australians over $45 million annually. Thus, credit card scam is one of the most pressing issues that heighten alert among authorities and that worry most consumers across the country.
The ACC identifies two categories of fraudulent activities targeting credit card users across Australia. First, such fraud is committed at the counters or tellers of retail shops or business establishments. This is more commonly referred to as ‘card skimming.’ The details of the credit card would be swiped for later use. Through ‘stored value credit card fraud,’ additional sum is inappropriately taken out or charged than is authorized by the credit card owner.
The second category is online credit card fraud. Through this scheme, your personal and classified details would be extracted strategically and resourcefully through the Internet. This is much riskier as the cyber criminals could do so many purchases and online transactions the moment they access your credit cards online.
Threat to clean credit history
Whenever a criminal gets to access a credit card owner’s details or personal information, they would instantly try to commit the fraud. The victim may not only have unauthorized purchase transactions that are issued under his/her name. Worse, a new credit could be taken out. Credit card fraud in Australia has become sophisticated. Criminals could now possibly get new cards, make loans, or even obtain mortgages under their victims’ names.
If a victim does not detect the credit card fraud right away, his/her credit file may end up with possible defaults, which could be another nightmare. There have been reported cases when a credit card fraud victim has been blacklisted from taking credit due to defaults brought about by the fraudulent activity or criminals. It surely could be a financially crippling ordeal.
What to do
The authorities aim to curtail the growing threat posed by credit card fraud in Australia. Consumers are consistently and frequently warned to be more discerning and more careful when keeping and using their plastic cards. Here are several preventive measures that could help anyone prevent being a victim of such a modern crime.
Before using your credit card for cash advance withdrawal, find a secured ATM. Inspect the terminal before using it. Suspicious boxes or signs of tampering could be skimming devices. Do not use an ATM if you are suspicious about its security. When using a secured machine, cover your hands when entering your PIN. Do not let anyone know it.
Make sure the Websites you would buy online goods or services from are secured. To be safe, check the address bar. Secured shopping and business sites begin with ‘https’ instead of the usual ‘http‘
Constantly monitor your credit card statements. Immediately report any suspicious or unauthorized transactions no matter how small or huge the involved amount could be. Get yourself regularly updated about your credit record so you could promptly discover any defaults that may have been issued or implemented without your full knowledge
ACC also warns that credit card fraud cases are not widely reported. If you get victimized by this crime, try to coordinate with the authorities before you check your credit or try to repair credit tarnished by unauthorized card transactions.