One in ten people had to replace their debit or credit card last year as a result of fraud.
According to new research from comparethemarket.com, five million people had to cancel their cards after falling victim to fraud. In the majority of cases (62%), the fraudster was able to take an average of £475 out of victims’ accounts.
One third of the cases of card fraud involved customers who were paying for items online. As internet shopping becomes an increasingly popular and convenient way to spend, this should perhaps come as no surprise.
However, there’s a chance some people might be making themselves an easy target for fraudsters. Electronic payment and fraud company ACI Worldwide has previously warned that using the same password for all your accounts and online banking puts you at far greater risk of falling victim to fraud.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? All the fraudster has to do is guess one password and they have access to all your accounts and financial details. It’s therefore vital to make sure you use a different password for every account you open, and that the password you choose is hard to guess. Generally speaking, the longer it is and the more different characters you have (for example, a combination of upper and lower case, letters and numbers), the better.
Check, check and check again
While some fraudsters rely on a lucky guess, others are using far more sophisticated techniques. You may therefore not even realise that you have fallen victim to one of them.
That’s why it’s so important to check your bank and credit card statements regularly and thoroughly to make sure there’s no suspicious activity on there. If there is, contact your bank or lender straightaway and ask them to check it for you.
It’s particularly important to check your statement if you regularly make contactless payments. Because these payments are made offline, they may not show up on your statement straightaway – and being offline means that if your card is stolen, a thief may even be able to continue to spend on it for a few days after you cancel it.
Luckily, some card providers will get in touch with you if they spot this sort of activity. They should also provide you with a refund if you tell them of any suspicious activity on your statement.
Don’t go public
You wouldn’t give your credit card details to just anybody, would you? However, if you use it to spend online while you’re logged into a public Wi-Fi network, there’s a chance that anybody could get hold of them.
Not all open networks are protected by encryption. This means that someone else who logs on to that network may be able to see what information you’ve entered during your web browsing. If this has included your card details, your account could be at risk.
Cancelling’s not the end of the world
If you check your statement and notice there is money missing that you can’t account for, don’t be afraid to contact your bank or credit card provider and ask them to cancel it. The sooner you do this, the safer the money remaining in your account will be.
Your card provider should be able to arrange for a new card to be sent to you within a few days so you won’t have to be without it for long.
And remember, your credit card provider wants to keep you safe from fraud too. Many will contact you if they spot spending activity they think is suspicious. Work together, stay vigilant and you can help protect your finances from falling into the wrong hands.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.