Credit card fraud is growing. Alongside remote banking, cheque and debit card fraud, this crime accounted for a staggering cost of £768.8 million in 2016 – signalling a rise of 2% year on year. If you have been the victim of credit card fraud, here is what to do next.
What is credit card fraud?
Credit card fraud is when your credit card or credit account is used for a purchase, or purchases, that you have not authorised. This could happen due to:
- The loss or theft of your card, leading to purchases made in person or online
- The theft of your credit account number, PIN and security code, for ‘card-not-present’ fraud
Victim of credit card fraud? You are not alone
As the victim of credit card fraud, it can be easy to feel as though you have been naïve, or that you have not protected yourself as you should have. Rest assured – you are not alone. A reported 2.8 million cases of credit card fraud are reported per year, and the tools and techniques that fraudsters have at their fingertips become more sophisticated by the day. So, brush your feelings of gullibility aside, and focus on the next steps.
What to do if you are a victim of credit card fraud
Even if you only have a slight suspicion about fraudulent activity on your credit card account, it is vital that you follow these steps, just in case…
Notify the credit card company immediately
First things first – contact the credit card company to report the fraud or suspected fraud. Have your account number to hand, along with your security details if you know them.
In the case of a lost card, and in order for you to be protected from the financial costs of fraud, you are required to notify the card company of the loss in good time – typically within 24 hours of being aware of the loss.
Change all of your online passwords and PINs
This step is important for minimising any further fraud. Depending on the circumstances of the credit card crime, you may also need to change passwords for your online banking, and email, if you suspect the fraud is linked to a suspicious email.
Monitor the activity of your credit card account
Being aware of all recent transactions is essential if you are to be reimbursed for transactions that are not yours.
Closely watch your bank statements
If you spot what you believe may be a fraudulent transaction, get in touch with your bank without delay.
Access your credit report
Your credit report can often help you spot fraudulent activity even before the criminals have had a chance to use a fraudulently opened account. You can access your credit for free from the following credit agencies: Experian, Noddle and ClearScore.
Key question: Are you protected?
The short answer is yes – you are protected by the Banking Code, so long as you, yourself, did not act fraudulently or without taking reasonable care. This latter point is an important one, as there are instances where your credit card provider may refuse to reimburse you for your losses. This includes where:
- The card has been stolen along with its PIN
- You have told someone your PIN – such as a friend or family member, leading to the loss
Types of credit card fraud
- Application Fraud – Application fraud typically happens alongside identity theft. This is where a fraudster first steals supporting documents (such as identification and address verification), and then applies for a credit card in your name, making you the victim of credit card fraud.
- CNP (Card Not Present) Fraud – All that is needed for CNP fraud is the expiry date of your card and the account number. These few details can then be used for fraud over the phone, or purchases made online.
- Counterfeit Card Fraud – This form of fraud typically involves ‘skimming’ (e.g. where a fake magnetic swipe machine is used to steal your card details). The criminal will then create an entirely new card, and hand you your card back.
- Lost and Stolen Card Fraud – Where your card is either forcefully taken from you, or found following it being lost.
- Card ID Theft – This form of credit card theft is where a criminal somehow accesses your information, which they then use to assume your account, or apply for a new credit card. This fraud can be difficult to identify in good time unless you regularly check your credit report for accounts that you do not recognise.
- Mail Non-Receipt Card Fraud – This fraud is where the criminal somehow intercepts your mail when your new or replacement card is due to arrive.
- Assumed Identity – Assumed identity fraud involves the use of a temporary address for the criminal to obtain a card using the name of an individual.
- Doctored Cards – Doctored cards involve the wiping of a credit card using a strong magnet. This card will no longer work when the fraudster attempts to pay, and they will then convince the merchant to manually input the details on the card.
- Fake cards – Fake cards are one of the more sophisticated forms of credit card fraud. With this fraud, the criminal recreates your card, complete with a magnetic strip, chip, and very often, a hologram.
- Account Takeover – The criminal, or criminals, have access to your information and relevant documents (typically online). They will then have contacted your card company to provide them with ‘proof’ that they are the cardholder. Following this, they will request that the card is sent to an address where they will intercept the card. Account takeover is one of the most common forms of credit card fraud.