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How to Avoid Common Credit and Debit Card Scams

Credit and debit card fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in Australia. Card fraud is almost a certainty if you enable your card number and pin to be compromised and become available to criminals.

To stay one step ahead of these crooks, you will need to understand how they operate and ensure that you secure your card and your pin at all times.


How Credit Card Criminals Steal Your Money


Card fraud is really identity theft, in which a criminal steals your personal information to get access to your banking account. The following are some of the common card frauds:


  • Skimming. A scammer replaces the card reader on an ATM, a cash register, a vending machine or even a petrol pump with a device called a skimmer. The skimmer ‘reads’ the magnetic strip on your card. This gives them the account information from your card. Some criminals also place a camera next to the skimmer to record pin numbers.
  • Document theft. The scammer simply takes bills, cheques or other documents that contain account information out of your mailbox, or even your rubbish. There are also some thieves that sneak into offices and steal information from workers’ desks.
  • Phishing scams. Criminals use a variety of methods to entice you to share your data online or over the phone. A common phishing scam is to email unsuspecting people a fake document that looks like a loan or credit card application, or even an invoice for fake payment.
  • Phone scams. Criminals pretending to be debt collectors or even the Australian Taxation Office, call and ask for a credit card payment to stop the purported legal action.
  • War Jamming. Criminals use a special device to capture financial data transmitted through a Wi-Fi network. You are reminded to only connect to trusted Wi-Fi networks.
  • Fraudulent emails devised to access credit card information


How to Protect Yourself from Card Criminals


As you can see, the bad guys have many tricks up their sleeve to get their hands on your card information. Fortunately, you can stop almost all of this theft with a few simple tricks of your own.


Steps you can to take to protect your credit and debit cards include:


  1. Sign up for Holiday Coast’s online banking, and use it to check your credit and debit card statements on a daily or weekly basis. Look for any suspicious transactions.
  2. Report any suspicious transaction activity to Holiday Coast, or your financial institution as soon as possible.
  3. Never give your credit or debit card information to anyone over the phone - even if that person has personal information about you. Take down their information, verify it, and call back on the number listed within the White or Yellow pages, or your own trusted records, to make a payment.
  4. Practice good computer security. Make sure your anti-virus is up to date, stay away from unknown potentially malicious websites, never share your personal information online or over the phone, and just be alert at all times. If in any doubt or concerns then ensure that you play it safe.
  5. Be aware that mobile app scams are on the rise. You can learn more about them at the Australian Crime Commission’s SCAMwatch Page.


We at Holiday Coast Credit Union want to help you protect your money. If you have any questions or need help with credit or debit security, drop into a Holiday Coast branch near you or give us a call on 1300 365 724.


This article provides general information only and should not be relied upon as financial product advice.

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