How to deal with credit card fraud

Credit card fraud can happen to the best of us. There are a number of ways this can happen e.g. scams or stolen cards - but the bottom line is that it’s unfortunately a pretty common occurrence. If you have been a victim of fraud, you need to act quickly. You can usually speak to your bank to freeze your account and request to have any fees and charges reversed. We’ll take you through some of the common issues that arise from credit card fraud and how to tackle them.

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What’s the issue?

Credit card fraud can result in financial loss and even affect your credit score

Credit card fraud is when someone else makes unauthorised transactions on your account pretending to be you. It’s a serious issue because it can not only result in huge financial loss, but also affect your credit score as well as taking up a lot of time to deal with. It can happen to anyone in a variety of ways, including having your physical card stolen, having your card information skimmed from a website, or phishing scams. 

Here are some of the things that may happen as a result of credit card fraud:

  • Identity theft: At the end of the day, it is a form of identity theft, and it can have larger consequences than any immediate financial losses. It may lead to other types of personal information being stolen, and used for other fraudulent purposes.

  • Financial loss: While it may seem like an obvious one, card fraud can result in financial loss for both individuals and businesses. Until you get the fraudulent charges resolved, which can often take a few weeks, the burden of the fees are on the victim. Fortunately, most banks will help you if you are a victim of fraud. However, in the case that you cannot have the fraudulent charges reversed, you will likely want to make a complaint. Read our easy guide on making banking complaints here.

  • Damaged credit score: Credit card fraud can affect your credit score as you’re being charged for things that you did not purchase and may not be able to pay back. If you are not aware of the fraudulent purchases on your account, this means that you may not be able to pay the full balance, leading to missed payments and further accrued interest. If you find something that is incorrect on your statements, it may have affected your credit report, so it’s best to contact your bank immediately and have it corrected.

  • Psychological impact: Dealing with the aftermath of credit card fraud can really take a toll on you mentally. Victims of credit card fraud may often feel stress and anxiety from having personal information exposed and financial losses that they were not expecting. 

Credit card fraud is a serious issue and both individuals and businesses need to stay vigilant to prevent it from happening. It’s important to take steps to ensure your information is secure, and report any suspicious activity as soon as you can. 

What do you need to know?

You aren’t liable for fraudulent transactions on your credit card

As we mentioned before, credit card fraud can happen to anyone and through a variety of methods. Whether it is a data breach, phishing scams or stolen cards, you’ll likely be able to make a complaint to your bank. Most banks will have a dedicated team that deals with fraud cases, and will deal with them as a priority. Or if you need help with raising this with your bank Ajust is here to assist you. 

The good news is that most credit card issuers have a zero liability policy for fraudulent transactions. This will usually say something along the lines that you will not be liable to pay for transactions that you did not consent to being made. In other words, this means your bank will likely cover you for any fraudulent purchases that were made without your knowledge or approval. However, it will be assessed on a case by case basis. As policy and procedures will vary between financial institutions, it is a good idea to stay aware of how your bank can help you in these situations. 

Acting as soon as possible when you become aware of fraudulent activity is very important. The sooner you can report it, the easier it is to control the damage, prevent further unauthorised charges and start the recovery process. If you have lost your physical card, call your bank immediately and ask them to freeze it. Your bank will issue you a new card and you will usually receive it between 3-5 business days.

Just a bit more

In the 12 months from July 2021 to June 2022, credit card fraud in Australia rose by 1.9% to just under 500 million dollars! So if you've been the subject of credit card fraud, know that you're definitely not alone. The good news is that the increase in credit card fraud was lower than the previous year, as banks and other financial institutions invest more time and effort into making sure their fraud detection systems are improving.

What can you do?

Report, monitor & prevent credit card fraud

If you have experienced credit card fraud in Australia, these are some of the steps that you can take to protect your information and prevent further damage. These steps will also help you to reduce the risk of credit fraud happening again in future. 

  1. Regularly check your statements: Be on the lookout for unauthorised charges. This way, you can report them as soon as possible. Sometimes banks may be able to detect unauthorised charges and be able to alert you first. However, be wary of phishing scams of this nature so double check to make sure that you are being contacted by your bank and not someone pretending to be them. 
  1. Contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately: Usually, calling your bank will be the fastest way to get in touch with them. As discussed let them know you think your account has been breached and tell them which transactions are the fraudulent ones. Your bank will take the best steps to prevent any further transactions, such as freezing your account or issuing you a new card.
  1. Change PINs and passwords: If the fraud happened online, whether through an unsecure website or a different method, it would be best practice to change your passwords and PINS immediately. This may include your bank account login details, emails or any other accounts that may be breached as a result. Also, consider using two-step verification where it is offered.

  2. Order a credit report: From time to time, request to access your credit report to make sure that there are no other fraudulent accounts or transactions made. You can access your credit report for free once every three months, or any time you are declined for credit.

  3. Police report: While it’s hard to get to the bottom of a lot of scams and credit card fraud cases, you can still make a police report. This can be helpful when providing information to your bank, and building a case against the scammer when possible.

  4. Warn friends and family: If it happened to you, it could happen to people around you so let friends and family know what happened, and how they can avoid similar scams.

  5. Be aware: These days, there are so many different types of scams out there and there are always new ones coming up. Be careful of unsolicited calls, text messages or emails, and check that it is coming from an authorised sender. Never give out personal information or send money to someone you do not trust. 

If you are a victim of credit card fraud and need help contacting your bank to make a complaint, you can go through Ajust. We can assist you in resolving your credit card fraud complaint, or any other banking issues. Just fill out our form and we will take it from there.


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