Online credit card fraud continues to rise in Australia

Sally McMullen 4 August 2017

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Online credit card fraud now accounts for 78% of all fraud in Australia.

Most of us enter our payment details and make purchases online without a second thought. However, it’s clear that Aussies need to be more careful about where they shop online following a report released by Australian Payments Networks this week.

Online credit card fraud has skyrocketed in Australia over the last few years. $417.6 million worth of transactions were made using stolen credit cards in 2016, an amount that has almost doubled since 2011.

In the 2016 Fraud Data Report, Australian Payments Network says these fraudulent credit card transactions made up 78% of more than $530 million in the total spent by fraudsters last year. As a result, fraud accounts for 74.7 cents for every $100 spent on credit cards, an increase from 66.9 cents in 2015 and 43.8 cents in 2012.

In the same report, the self-regulatory body said that credit card skimming fraud had increased by 13%. This is likely executed through false terminals made to look like legitimate card readers that aren’t connected to a payment network and instead skim your card’s details. The report also notes that as Australian merchants and customers continue to embrace online platforms, there has been a correlating increase in card-not-present fraud.

AusPayNet CEO Leila Fourie says that although Australia compares favourably to the UK and US when looking at fraud rates, there are still ways we can improve to better protect our finances.

“Over the next year our focus is to continue to educate businesses about online fraud prevention and support the roll out of risk-based customer authentication including investigations into how biometrics, geolocation and social media enable this,” said Fourie.

Managing director of credit reporting service Experian Suzanne Steele has also weighed in saying that to date, Australian providers have used reactive strategies involving identifying and blocking the weak spots that allow fraudsters to slip through the net. However, she doesn’t think this is good enough.

“From device authentication and behavioural biometrics, to analytics and machine learning, there are plenty of developing technologies that can be employed to better protect customers,” said Steele.

So, what can cardholders do to protect their finances? AusPayNet encouraged cardholders to frequently update their PC security software and conduct full security scans on their devices. It also reminded consumers to look for the locked padlock on their browser to ensure they’re only submitting their payment details on secure websites.

Most financial institutions offer online fraud prevention solutions and purchase protection insurance, so AusPayNet also suggested the cardholders take advantage of those where possible. Lastly, cardholders should regularly and carefully check their statements and report any suspicious activity as soon as possible.

Check out our guide on how to avoid credit card fraud for tips to help guard your finances.

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