Online shopping credit card fraud up to $200 million

Just under $280 million was stolen from Australians through credit card crime last year, with online shoppers the hardest hit by fraudsters.

The largest growth in fraud occurred in online shopping sites where almost $200 million was stolen. Despite a big drop in 'skimming' or counterfeit fraud as a result of new credit card chip technology, data from the Australian Payments clearing association shows fraud climbed 1% in the 2012-13 financial year.

Fraud utilising stolen or lost Australian-issued cards overseas jumped 33% to $9.6 million, while local criminals were responsible for a 32% increase to $20.8 million.

However it was a 5% lift in online fraud that has the banking sector worried.

Australian Bankers Association chief executive Steven Munchenberg has called on online shoppers to be more vigilant.

"more customers are shopping online to get those last minute gifts because it's convenient, provides choice and it's easy to compare prices. However it's important to buy from trusted web retailers and think carefully before providing your personal information online," he said.

He confirmed that bank customers were protected if the transaction was proven to be fraudulent but it was still vital to to protect your credit cards.

Online shoppers are advised to look for the locked padlock before they supply details and register for their financial providers fraud prevention solutions when they are prompted.

Another solution being offered to online shoppers by some credit card providers is the 'virtual card' which allows the card holder to create a temporary card complete with number, cvc and expiry date for use in online purchases. Once the user has finished with a purchase they simply delete the card. This means that even if cyber criminals were able to capture your virtual card details, they won't be able to use them.

Visa currently provides the service for a fee but Virgin Velocity Global Wallet prepaid travel card offers the service for free - in an innovative move from the new entrant to the Travel card market.

It is possible that banks will begin to introduce virtual cards as standard for free on credit cards if they wish to see a reduction in online shopping fraud. But for now, there's Velocity Global Wallet.