Criminal Law

By Satomi Hamon


Christmas Card Crime

If you’re planning to buy something online during the holiday season this year (or ever!), you should make yourself aware of the risks associated.

As online shopping becomes more and more prevalent in Australia, unfortunately so does cybercrime and in particular online fraud rates.  To put things in perspective, with the 16.6 million credit cards and 43.2 million debit cards currently in circulation, Australians made a whopping 584 million purchases between January and July 2016.

With Christmas right around the corner, many of these cards are making gift and holiday purchases and cybercrime rates are higher than ever.

Card-not-present fraud occurs when shopper’s credit card details are stolen and used to make payments over the phone, by post and most predominantly online.

Cybercriminals typically try to capture consumers’ card details by targeting the computer systems belonging to merchants or service providers – where payment data might be stored. They might do this by, for example, inserting malicious software onto targeted computers to exploit weaknesses and access card details.

This type of fraud has nearly tripled in the past five years.

Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting Australians using credit and debit cards to make online purchases and now account for almost 80% of all Australian card fraud, according to a new study by Australian Payments Clearing Association.

Through an analysis of their recent report, it is estimated that increasing levels of card-not-present fraud puts a potential $34.9 million Australian dollars at risk this Christmas.

As you are shopping online for your holiday gifts, keep in mind the risk of card-not-present fraud.

What you should do to minimise the risk of becoming a card-not-present fraud victim:

  • Monitor your bank accounts – Look through your bank statements regularly and keep track of your purchases. Most banks now have an app you can download onto your phone and use eIf you notice a suspicious transaction (such as a purchase at a store you haven’t visited), contact your bank immediately.
  • Only purchase from secure sites – Before you purchase something online, assess the legitimacy and security of the site. Some indications of a secure site include, no pop-up ads, a physical address and phone number and a privacy statement. A good way to verify whether a site is secure and reliable is to search for online reviews.
  • Know your rights – Depending on your provider and the incident that has occurred, you should be covered by fraud protection services that will ensure that your stolen funds are returned to you. Investigations will vary from bank to bank so it’s important to know what you’re entitled to and what the recovery process is, in order to get the most out of your cover.

Wishing you a happy and safe Christmas shopping experience from Ben Aulich & Associates.