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Guard your card: Australians swindled out of $1 billion in bank card fraud in past year

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Millions of Australians have lost more than $1 billion to scammers after having their bank cards skimmed, according to new research by Finder.

A nationally representative survey of 1,058 respondents revealed 1 in 7 (17%) – equivalent to 3.4 million people – have been victims of debit and credit card fraud in the past 12 months.

The research revealed the average victim lost $299 – equating to a whopping $1.01 billion Australia-wide.

Amy Bradney-George, credit card expert at Finder, said the losses were staggering.

"It's a widespread problem, and shows how effective scammers have become at deceiving innocent Australians."

Finder's research shows millennials were most likely to be targeted, with 27% admitting they'd had their card details used fraudulently in the past 12 months, followed by 22% of gen Z.

Bradney-George urged people to be wary of fake calls, texts and emails about purchases, prizes and deliveries.

"Scammers are getting very sophisticated at impersonating big, trustworthy brand names, and some even pretend to be a family member or friend in need."

Just over 1 in 10 (11%) Aussies who were scammed reported it, while 3% didn't.

A further 3% had been a victim of bank card fraud in the past year, but didn't realise until later that it was a scam.

Bradney-George said it was a good idea to regularly check your transaction history.

"Contact your bank straight away if you find transactions you didn't make or don't recognise so it can help you figure it out.

"Never click on a link or hand over personal information without confirming you are dealing with a legitimate business.

"The same goes for messages from unfamiliar numbers if the sender is claiming to be someone you know."

People who detect a scam, regardless of whether they have lost money, can report it and learn more about how to get help on the Scamwatch website at https://www.scamwatch.gov.au

In the past 12 months, have you ever had your credit card or debit card skimmed (e.g. card number stolen and used by someone else)?
Yes, and I reported it11%
No, but this has happened to me more than 12 months ago8%
I'm not sure3%
Yes, but I didn't report it3%
Yes, but I didn't realise until later that it was a scam3%
No72%
Source: Finder survey of 1,058 Australians, August 2022

Card fraud can come in many forms. Here are some strategies you can use to protect your account.

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