Credit card fraud is a multi-billion dollar industry, with shoppers susceptible to being scammed both online and in the traditional retail world.
But it’s usually internet shopping that carries the biggest risks, says to Christie Brock, Police Credit Union Marketing
Manager, Product & Marketing.
“While online shopping has its advantages, consumers should follow safe online shopping practices,” she says.
“This includes keeping good documentation of your online transactions, recording shipping dates, warranties and return policies, taking note of shipping and handling fees, and locating the contact details you need should you have any problems.”
An easy way to check whether you’re shopping on a trustworthy website is to do the Google test, she suggests.
“Shoppers should check the company they’re purchasing from and if it’s not a company they’re familiar with, [they should] do some online research to see what fellow shoppers have to say about their reputation,” she says.
“Also, check what information the seller is collecting from you and how they plan on using it, as they may be looking to on sell it – this can generally be obtained from their privacy policy.”
According to SCAMwatch, a website run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), there are several ways you can protect yourself from credit card scams:
  • Never send money (or give credit card or online account details) to anyone you do not know and trust
  • Check your paper bank account and credit card statements when you get them. If you see a transaction that you don’t recall or you cannot explain, report it to your credit union or bank immediately.
  • Keep your credit card and ATM cards safe. Don’t share your personal identity number (PIN) with anyone, and don’t keep any written copy of your PIN anywhere near the card. 
  • Choose passwords that would be difficult for anyone else to guess.
  • Try to avoid using shared/public computers, such as at a library or internet café, when doing your internet banking.
  • Don’t use software on your computer that auto-completes online forms: this can give internet scammers easy access to your personal and credit card details.
  • Don’t give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you personally made the call, and you’re certain the phone number came from a trusted source.
  • Never send your personal, credit card or online account details through an email.