How to avoid fraud

For Aussie credit card holders, avoiding fraud is an ever-prescient task, as online scamming schemes have blossomed ever since the ‘dotcom boom’ of the early 2000s. An APCA report from 2015 showed domestic and international counterfeit/skimming fraud across all Australian credit cards respectively amounted to $25.4 and $28.1 million.

Sound scary? You bet. Yet there’s no reason for you to panic, as you can safeguard yourself from banking fraud if you follow certain security precautions. We’ve compiled some of them in the below list.

Tips on avoiding credit card fraud

  • Get in the habit of changing your credit card PIN. It pays to change it every year. Use number combinations that are harder for the fraudsters to guess or obtain – e.g., pick four random numbers.
  • Look into using a password manager on your devices. Many password manager software applications also act as random password generators for each website you log into. And the best thing is you only need one master password to access your stored passwords.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited emails or click on pop-up windows. You can expect to receive a ‘phishing’ email or face a suspicious-looking pop-up window as you’re browsing the internet.
  • Secure your mailbox. That’s right – your ‘analogue’ mailbox. Mail theft is commonplace in the bigger cities, so the ‘No Junk Mail’ sign won’t be a good enough safety measure. Keep your mailbox under lock and key at all times.
  • Destroy your paper statements and bills after they’ve been paid. Shredding normally does the trick, making it next to impossible for anyone to obtain and copy your personal details.
  • Store your bank account statements in a safe place. This one goes without saying. If you don’t have much use for printed statements, you can always switch off paper bills altogether and opt to receive them by email instead.
  • Don’t disclose your passwords. If you’re using a telephone banking service, make sure no one hears you. When logging into your bank account, always ensure your login details are not visible.
  • Install anti-virus software on your devices. This is particularly important for Windows/Android users, as they may not have a high level of anti-virus protection, depending on the operating system.
  • Think before you reply to suspicious text messages. SMiShing (SMS phishing) is a hugely popular scamming practice. In recent years, there have been several major occurrences of fake ‘bank’ text send-outs, which prompted unsuspecting bank account and credit card holders to submit their personal information and account details. You should therefore avoid clicking links within unsolicited text messages at all times.
  • Take care when shopping online. Always use trusted online shopping services and avoid clicking on offers that sound too good to be true.
  • Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution straight away. Remember: if something you receive looks suspicious, there’s every chance it could be malicious!