The biannually collected data from December 2018 shows the importance of remaining vigilant against credit card fraudsters who continue to innovate as digitial channels evolve.

Despite new technology being implemented to crack down on scammers, they are continually finding ways to bypass anti-scam software.

The data shows ‘card-not-present’ fraud (aka online fraud where the thief doesn’t actually have your card on them) is comfortably the most common type, increasing 7.8% to $478 million, or 85% of all credit card fraud.

Counterfeit and skimming fraud dropped 45.7% to $23 million, as scammers move to online channels as chip technology continues to improve.

In total there were nearly four million reported fraud transactions through credit, debit and charge cards – more than 6,200 times the number of fraud transactions made through cheques.

The vast majority were made through credit cards over debit cards.

  Number of fraud transactions Value
of fraud transactions
Number (millions) Value (millions) as % of total no. of transactions as % of total value ($) of transactions
Cheques 637   $4,649,080   80   $1,004,938   0.00% 0.00%
Australian-issued cards 3,980,028 $565,134,839 9,452   $767,403  0.04% 0.07%
Proprietary debit cards 48,646   $14,364,369   N/A N/A N/A N/A
Scheme credit, debit and charge cards 3,931,382   $550,770,470   N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total 3,980,665 $569,783,919 9,532 $1,772,341 0.04% 0.03%

Source: Australian Payments Network

Data from the ACCC supports this view that credit card fraud is increasing, with 999 reports of scams already up until February 24.

Credit card fraud, in total, accounts for nearly one-third of all scams.

People who suspect they’ve been the victim of credit card fraud should contact their bank immediately, as they may be able to cancel the transaction and the card if they act quickly.

Credit cards with lower credit limits can also help counter credit card fraud, as spend over a certain amount will be denied.

Nearly half of all fraudulent transactions occur overseas

Going overseas doesn’t make people any safer from credit card fraud – if anything it can place them in greater risk given the lower proportion of Australians overseas vs at home.

There were nearly 1.7 million fraudulent transactions made on Aussie credit cards from overseas locations.

The majority (again) were from card-not-present transactions, implying thieves are stealing people’s credit card details through online methods again.

Nearly 80,000 fraudulent transactions, meanwhile, were made through lost and stolen cards overseas.

Certain countries are notorious for targeting tourists with pickpocketers.

The Government’s SmartTraveller page has detailed breakdowns on what to watch out for in certain regions:

Category In Australia   Overseas   Total  
  Transactions Value ($) Transactions Value ($) Transactions Value ($)
Lost / Stolen 371,005 31,597,872 78,357 15,898,186 449,362 47,478,058
Never Received 34,180 5,831,341 2,059 399,968 36,239 6,231,308
Fraudulent Application 6,795 1,747,602 2,039 646,300 8,834 2,393,902
Counterfeit / Skimming 19,135 4,660,079 39,796 10,275,330 58,931 14,935,409
Card Not Present (CNP) 1,808,022 249,226,028 1,562,242 228,694,673 3,370,264 477,920,701
Other 3,865 919,273 3,887 891,817 7,752 1,811,091
Total 2,243,002 293,964,195 1,688,380 256,806,274 3,931,382 550,770,470

Source: Australian Payments Network

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Photo by W A T A R I on Unsplash