Money

Online credit card fraud skyrockets

Cyber criminals are getting smarter at stealing your money.

A new report has found cyber criminals are getting a helluva lot better at stealing your personal credit card information as more people are buying online than ever before. 

Last year, credit card fraud cost $534 million, up from $469M from 2015. 

Industry self-regulatory body Australian Payments Network revealed in its annual report there had been a huge spike in credit card fraud with stolen cards now making up 78 per cent of all fraudulent card transactions. 

According to the report, Aussies used their credit cards to spend a record $714.5 billion online in 2016 with 0.74 pre cent of card transactions fraudulent.

ABC News reported that the network had found “card not present” fraud grew substantially in 2016 – “card not present” fraud happens when a person’s valid card details are stolen and then used to make purchases without the actual card, usually online. 

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The report also found a 13 per cent jump in card skimming through “ghost terminals” which is a fake terminal cleverly disguised as real ones but are not actually connected to a payments network and “skim” card details. 

ABC’s AM program heard this morning from the network’s chief executive Leila Fourie that businesses and consumers needed to be watchful as online spending is currently growing faster than “bricks and mortar” retail spending.

“These ghost terminals are a function of globally syndicated fraud units and they’re highly sophisticated and able to interact across the internet and online,” Fourie told ABC AM. 

“Unfortunately, it’s very difficult by the natural eye to detect ghost terminals. While the terminal they’re using looks authentic, it is very difficult to tell the difference.”

This real and present threat from cyber criminals comes after the Reserve Bank released a study last week which showed card payments had overtaken cash payments for the first time. 

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“Banks and retailers are certainly keeping up with the criminals,” Fourie said. “But, unfortunately, crime and fraud is as old as bank robbery and it will always be with us. It’s now about pre-empting and identifying new areas of vulnerability in new technologies.”

She warned consumers and businesses to be on high alert and more protective with their personal card details. 

“The golden rule is to always treat your cards as if they were cash,” she said. 

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