Is Tap-and-Go safe? Credit card fraud costs Aussies $450 million each year

Tap-and-Go credit card fraud alone cost Aussie cardholders $40 million last year, but Victoria Police have admitted it wouldn’t be worth shoppers reporting the fraud, revealed the Herald Sun.

In the last financial year, thieves made off with over $400 million in fraudulent debit or credit card transactions, but top fraud investigator Superintendent Pat Boyle said thousands of fraud cases go unreported every year.

Boyle described credit card fraud as a “tsunami” that would drown Victorian Police if every offence was reported.

“The crooks know that the only way they are getting caught is if the bank reports it to us or if we catch them. There is a loss for the banks but they refund it,” he told the Herald Sun.

“Across the country there is quite a number of incidents happening. I can’t tell you how many because we don’t know.”

While Tap-and-Go fraud accounted for $40 million of fraud, $34 million was racked up on lost or stolen cards, while $8 million came from cards intercepted in the mail.

Even Victorian Police Minister Lisa ­Neville has been the victim of credit card fraud and opted not to report it to police. When her card was cloned while she was overseas last year and used to rack up a $1,000 spend in under two hours, she “did not report it. Police are not in a position to stop and investigate this type of crime.”

“The bank dealt with it and refunded it pretty quickly,” she added.

Boyle said one solution to the prevalence of Tap-and-Go related fraud would be to require verification for every third transaction, a solution he preferred over banks lowering the $100 limit on PayPass and payWave transactions.

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Although these numbers sound nerve-wracking, Aussie credit card users don’t need to lock up their plastic just yet. Australian Payments Network chief Dr Leila Fourie told the Herald Sun that only 2% of total transactions were attributed to fraud.

“The industry works actively to combat fraud,” she said. Cardholders can also work to limit the threat of fraud by taking a few precautions.

Top tips to combat credit card fraud

  • Pick a tricky PIN. Your PIN should be a number that you’ll remember easily (so you don’t have to write it down) but that no one else will guess. Birthdays or anniversaries are pretty easy to guess, so try to make it a little trickier than that. Oh, and don’t tell anyone what it is!
  • Stay secure online. When shopping online, only use secure sites. Usually there’ll be a padlock icon in the address bar to let you know the page is safe. Also, try to resist the temptation of just saving your card details for later - it may take a little longer, but re-entering them each time is safer.
  • Keep your card in sight. When using your card in a shop, restaurant or bar, keep your eye on it at all times (avoid leaving it behind the bar). Your card and the terminal it’s being used on should always be in sight so you can be sure it’s being used properly.

If you think you’re a victim of credit card fraud

  • Report it to your bank. First things first, let your bank know you suspect someone has used your card, so they can cancel it or at least block access. They will also usually refund your money in the case of fraud, as long as you let them know as soon as possible.
  • Update your security details. Make sure that when you start using a new card, you choose a different PIN. It might also be a good idea to review and update any other safety measures put in place, like security questions.
  • Check your credit history. It may not be at the top of your priority list, but make sure you check in on your credit report after a case of fraud to see that it hasn’t been recorded as a black mark against you.