Card Fraud – How You Can Avoid It

Card Fraud – How You Can Avoid It

Want to avoid card fraud? Of course you do! Card Fraud is huge business for sharks so it’s best you do everything possible to avoid it.

According to Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), fraud losses on payment cards (credit, debit, charge and ATM-only cards) totalled £567.5 million in 2015, an increase of 18% on the previous year.  It accounted for three-quarters of financial fraud losses. That’s a whole lot of fraud going on.

Crooks have always used techniques like pickpocketing and distraction thefts to steal money, but with today’s technology criminals can steal personal data in order to conduct impersonation and deception scams. Unlocked smartphones and tablets provide a haven of data for criminals, giving them access to all of your personal contact details, mobile banking details and other financial transactions. Not good.

Here are some of the types of card fraud:

Card-not-present fraud: This is also known as ‘remote purchase fraud’, this type of fraud occurs when card details are fraudulently used to make purchases that don’t require you to physically present a card such as purchases made through the post, on the phone or online. Card detail are fraudulently stolen using a range of tactics such as recording card details during a legitimate transaction or downloading malware on to the victim’s computer.

Lost and stolen cards: Fraudsters use a lost or stolen card to make a purchase or to withdraw cash from a cash machine. This is why you should always cancel your cards as quickly as possible in the event they are lost or stolen.

Card ID theft: Criminals use fraudulently obtained cards or card details along with stolen personal information to either open or take over a card account held in someone else’s name. This comes in two forms:

  • Application fraud: This is where a criminal uses fake, discarded or stolen documents to open an account in someone else’s name
  • An Account Takeover: This is where someone’s genuine card is taken over. Fraudulently obtained personal information is used to deceive the card company and the fraudster can carry out transactions from that account for their own gain.

Card not received fraud: Cards may be stolen in transit between the card issuer and the genuine card holder.  The is a bigger risk if you live somewhere with communal letterboxes which provide shared access to mail.

Cash machine fraud:  Criminals target cash machines to steal cards and their data.  Tactics range from peering over someone’s shoulder to see their PIN, then stealing their card – to the use of devices attached to cash machines which can copy card details and PIN numbers and trap the card in the machine.

Counterfeit card fraud:  This type of card fraud involves criminals creating a fake card using details from the magnetic strip of a genuine card.   Counterfeit cards are typically for used overseas in countries which haven’t upgraded to Chip & PIN.


Obviously it is very important to protect your card details but how exactly can you do this? Here are some tips to protect your personal details:

  • Never provide someone with credit card numbers or PINs or other personal information in response to an unsolicited email, online or telephone request as these are some of the most popular ways to steal info
  • Always sign the back when you receive a new payment card
  • Don’t let your card details out of sight when making any transaction, including just taking money out of a cash machine
  • Have a different password for your online banking instead of using one you would normally use (make sure you can remember it though)
  • Dispose of card statements (or anything with your financial information on) using a card shredder
  • Make sure to PIN Protect your smart phones and devices


Remember to protect your PIN and keep it a secret. You should choose a strong PIN and avoid using obvious numbers such as birthdays and anniversaries as these are easy to guess and can be found easily via social media. Also, it’s best that you memorise your PIN and don’t write it down anywhere for obvious reasons.

There are also precautions you should take online to avoid fraud:

  • Regularly update your computer’s firewall or antivirus software
  • When shopping online, always look carefully at the site for secure transaction symbols. The web address should start ‘https’ and the page should display the secure payment ‘lock’ logo
  • If possible, always shop or bank online from your personal computer and always log-off from a site once you’ve completed a transaction

Unfortunately, fraud is always going to be a thing. But with these steps it should be much more preventable. Have you ever been a victim of fraud? If so tell us your story @MACFinancial and give us a follow for more financial tips

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