Australians lose $170m a year to credit card scams

Aussies with debit and credit cards may want to take extra security precautions with their plastic in light of recent figures that indicate $170 million was lost to scammers last year.

According to the figures from the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), consumers in the country lost money through credit and debit card scams on more than 657,000 occasions.

Last year, there were 593,819 instances of fraudulent credit card transactions, with a further 63,894 instances using debit cards.

The ACC warned Australians to be vigilant with their details when on the internet, even when they are in chat rooms, on dating pages and surfing social networking sites.

After the publication of the new figures, the ACC stated that identity theft involving organised crime poses a "critical" risk.

Last month, an email circulated round inboxes in Australia purported to be from British prime minister David Cameron.

Recipients were offered £2 million ($3.1 million) that could be withdrawn from any ATM in the world.

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