Online shoppers must protect themselves as cyber crime theft hits almost $300 million

ONLINE shoppers are increasingly falling victim to cyber criminals as fraud rates soar.

Card-not-present fraud — when consumers hand over their details online, by phone or by post — climbed by 42 per cent in 2014 and have reached nearly $300 million.

New figures released by the Australian Payments and Clearing Association also found card skimming at ATMs is far from dead, increasing by 17 per cent in 2014 and totalling $42.1 million.

APCA’s chief executive officer Chris Hamilton said online fraud remained one of the biggest challenges facing the payments industry.

“Somehow some bad guy has got hold of your card number and has enough information to pretend to be you and buy something from an online merchant,’’ he said.

“Consumers should only deal with merchants that are reputable and that you know.”

The report outlines that financial institutions, retailers, the healthcare and education sectors, government bodies and computer software providers are all high targets for cybercrime.

The problem is so severe the payments industry is also looking at introducing “tokenisation” which replaces sensitive information, for example using card numbers with “tokens” that are useless to a fraudster.

The report also showed of the $650 billion worth of transactions made on Australian payment cards in 2014 about 0.06 per cent were fraudulent.

The average fraud debt was $224.

The Australian Bankers’ Association’s chief executive Steven Munchenberg said customers should frequently check their bank statements to ensure they haven’t been hit by fraud.

“Banks have very sophisticated systems in place to detect fraud and if customers are the innocent victims of fraud, the bank bears the loss, not the customer,’’ he said.

Frauds via “tap and go” payments remained relatively stable — in 2014 there was about $33 million in lost and stolen fraud, rising by just two per cent.

In these scenarios, fraudsters can use cards with contactless payment capabilities to make transactions for under $100 without requiring a four-digit Personal Identification Number.

PROTECT YOURSELF

— Always keep your computer security software up-to-date.

— Only provide your card details to secure websites.

— Use your financial institution’s online fraud prevention solutions.

— Regularly check you bank statements and report any suspicious transactions immediately.

Source: News.com.au

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