In Australia, credit card fraud is on the rise, costing Australians millions of dollars each year.
Being scammed is stressful, both mentally and financially. Christmas time is stressful enough, and credit cards are frequently used to purchase presents and festive fare. Nobody needs the added strain of dealing with a card scam at this time of the year!
Stay safe from scammers with some savvy credit card strategies.
Credit card scams: the statistics
Australians experienced card fraud of $2.1 billion during 2014-15, more than double the $1 billion in 2010-11, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
In 2014-15, just over one million people experienced card fraud (or 5.9% of the population aged 15 and over), compared with 662,300 in 2010-11 (3.7%).
According to William Milne, Director of the ABS National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics, out of pocket losses in 2014-15 were $84.8 million, even after reimbursements from financial institutions.
Being scammed is stressful
A study by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the US found that nearly two-thirds of financial fraud victims experienced at least one non-financial cost of fraud, including stress, anxiety, depression and difficulty sleeping.
The Non-Traditional Costs of Financial Fraud study found that severe stress was the most common problem, reported by 50 per cent of survey participants, followed by anxiety (44 percent), difficulty sleeping (38 percent) and depression (35 percent).
Nearly half of victims blamed themselves for the fraud. Almost half incurred indirect costs associated with the fraud, including late fees and legal costs.
The ACCC advises extra caution over the Christmas holiday period, with scammers attempting to cash in on consumers’ generosity and vulnerability, with scams such as fake accommodation, charity and online shopping deals.
Strategies to avoid scams
Here are ASIC’s tips for protecting yourself:
Also, put a lock on your mailbox and shred any documents that contain personal information before disposing of them.
By being proactive, you can be confident you’ve optimised your chances of avoiding card scams this holiday season.
For further information and help
The Department of Human Services Financial Information Service 13 23 00
National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007
Lifeline 13 11 14