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How to avoid the 5 most common credit card fraud traps

Don't get your credit card details stolen from under your nose. (Source: Getty)

These days credit card fraudsters don’t need your physical card to be able to swipe your money, banking details or identity.

You could have your money stolen when a cybercriminal knows your card details, brushes past you with a skimmer, or even pinches it from your mail.

And while card fraud has fallen by 6.9 per cent in the 12 months leading up to June 2019, Australians still have some bad habits when it comes to keeping credit card details safe.

According to a survey by comparethemarket.com.au, 17 per cent of Aussies have admitted to emailing, texting or messaging someone their credit card details.

Another 15 per cent have scanned or photocopied their information and shared it with someone else, while 13 per cent have said they relayed their details over the phone in a public place.

And nearly half (44 per cent) say they’ve had our credit card details stolen, or know someone who has.

Australians lost $527.8 million to card fraud in the 12 months leading up to June last year – so we’ve got some brushing up to do when it comes to credit card security.

Here’s what we should do to protect our card details – and our money:

1. Use secure websites only

“Most information that you send or input, such as your credit card details, through a secured website, is encrypted and protected,” said a spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au.

“However, this doesn’t mean you’re completely safe from any hackers.”

Make sure your computer’s malware protection software is up to date and install an anti-spyware tool. Avoid clicking pop-up ads or suspicious links.

2. Know who you’re buying from

If you’re shopping online or making a purchase on the phone, can you trust the other party?

“You never know how your credit card details could be used, so consider calling the seller back on a number you can find on their website and not just the number they called you on,” the spokesperson said.

“Consider checking out the customer reviews on the online store you’re buying from to make sure it’s a genuine website too.”

3. Don’t hit the tick on ‘remember my details/password’

While it’s tempting to tick yes to your device remembering your credit card details, this can actually be “an especially dangerous practice”, according to comparethemarket.com.au.

“Your bank details and even username/password can still be hacked into.”

It might feel like a pain, but it really is safer to type out details out every time.

4. Beware of public wifi

Experts have already warned against doing your tax returns on public wifi or when you’re travelling. Logging onto sensitive websites on public wifi is asking for trouble.

“Hackers utilise common attack techniques such as digital eavesdropping, malicious hotspots and remote malware distribution to access consumers private data. This means that a network may appear safe and secure but in fact open you up to attack by hackers,” warned NortonLifeLock security expert Mark Gorrie.

There’s an easy enough way around this. Get yourself a VPN (virtual private network), which helps prevent your information from being intercepted by third parties.

“Tread very carefully when using public wi-fi and try to avoid using your bank details if possible,” said the spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au.

5. Log out when you’re done

If you’re logging into your online banking account, be sure to sign out properly, even if all you’ve done is simply check your balance.

It’s not good enough to just close your browser, said comparethemarket.com.au.

“Make sure you properly logout to avoid any issues or errors when you next hop online. This also lowers the risk of any outside parties getting access to your account and using your details while still logged in as you.”

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