Services: Credit Card Protection

The Aussie Over 50s Guide to Credit Card Protection


Credit card skimming is a form of credit card/debit card theft

Criminals use a small device they carry known as a "skimmer" to steal your card information.

Learn how you can protect yourself from credit card skimming

The Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) 2015 Fraud Report, tells us that domestic counterfeit and skimming fraud cost us (Australians) around $6.4 million in 2015.The same report tells us that international counterfeit and skimming fraud on Australian-issued cards cost $28.1 million. Worldwide, some $269.1 million Australian-issued card fraud was perpetuated.

Be aware as the next person being skimmed could be YOU! This is happening right now here and overseas those traveling need protection.

Credit Card Fraud Protection
Credit Card Fraud Protection
Credit Card Fraud Protection

It may seem that credit card skimming is only a small part of the overall problem and that is true. BUT! it is still an issue especially if you are the one that has been skimmed!

It goes without saying that skimming is still a very major issue for us in Australia and that is both domestically and even more so when we are travelling overseas.

The following will give you a better understanding of this type of fraud in some detail and what you can do to protect yourself from it.

Firstly let's cover how does credit card skimming works

It is very important to note that credit card skimming devices are in most cases designed and made to look like exactly like to hardware that is already on an existing Automated Teller Machine or ATM.

Once a skimming device is fitted to an ATM thieves are able to return to the ATM and retrieve the device and then gather all the stolen data of the people who have used the tampered with ATM. Of course the thieve can then either replace the device on the same AMT or move it to another location.

Now the thieves have the data they are able to create counterfeit clone credit or debit cards or they can directly steal money from those bank accounts.

Keep in mind that chip-and-PIN type cards are much more secure against this type of fraud. This is because the information that is stored on the embedded microchip is encrypted. That is not to say these cards cannot be skimmed as they still retain the magnetic strips, so there is still a risk of skimming and this applies especially when traveling overseas where chip-and-PIN technology may not be as common.

Things to look for where signs of skimming devices have been installed

Always pay attention when using your credit cards, become more aware of what you should be looking for. Understanding the key signs of skimming will help you from being caught, check out the following situations :

Automated Teller Machines or ATM. There is no doubt that that you will find it harder to detect skimming devices placed on ATMs and that is because the person fitting the device can be very skilful with the installation. The skimming device can look like it was installed as part of the existing machine.

Attention to detail here always look for tampering, things that might stand out, like scratches around the place where you insert you card "the card slot", sometimes the card slot can look a little unfamiliar or strange! Just keep an eye out for any other features that do not seem as they should be like the entry numbered keypad is raised or just looks too shiny and new when compared to the rest of the ATM.

As we said become much more aware when using any ATM Look for small, tiny even cameras that could have been placed anywhere around the ATM These cameras are used to grab your PIN as you enter the numbers in to the machine.

Should you pick up something suspicious or you notice any out of the ordinary around or at the ATM DO NOT USE IT!!! You need to report your finding about the ATM to the store, bank or owner immediately, and take you information to the police. Now just in case you did USE the ATM you need to call your credit card provider immediately and report it to them, make them aware of the situation, tell them where the machine and is located and protect you interests and card.

When shopping in stores

Skimming devices in stores are different as they are usually separate to the standard card processing machine or ATM.

What this means that if a skimming device is present, your credit card would need to be scanned or tapped on two separate machines or devices. NOW! If you are in a situation where you do notice something odd, suspicious or different behaviour, please go a little out of your way and report it to the to the authorities, it might be advisable not to report it to the sort attendant as they might be part of the scam. You also need to talk to your card provider to make them aware of your thoughts.

How to protect you and your cards from fraud skimming

Below are a few things you can do to protect yourself from card skimming: You might like to print this page or make a note of the page for future reference -

Always Keep your Card in Sight

Regardless to where you are NEVER let your card out of your sight! It can be usual in a restaurant for you to place a card in a folder on a tray for the waiter to take back to the counter to be charged. It is a much better idea to walk to the counter with the bill where you can watch so that you know it is only being used on the one machine. When in stores the same applies never let the card leave you sight and watch the attended that has your card at all times.


All credit card come with a personal PIN NUMBER - it is your pin and your security so Never share your or give you PIN to anyone. Do not tell anyone your PIN, no matter who they are! Make a note of the number and leave it at home is a safe place that you will remember. Definitely do not keep a copy of it in your wallet or purse THAT IS A NO,NO! especially never keep it together with your card.

Keep Your Eyes Open to Whats Around You

When using your pin watch what the person behind you is doing, a thief could be looking over your shoulder and watching you enter the pin number. So be discreet with your PIN. Covering the keypad as you enter your PIN is a must and will help prevent someone stealing from you.

Keep your eyes open for sign of tampering

Run an eye over any ATM or cashing out machine where you are using your cards. A quick check could save you from being robbed. So before you make use of an ATM, always check for anything suspicious, lost parts or signs of sticky tape anything that looks different. You might run your hand over the machine just to check that everything is solid. ATM do not have any moving parts.

Out Door ATM should be avoided

No it is not true that ATMs inside a store or shopping centre are safer than those outside or on the street, but, it stands to reason those outside are easier to tamper with.

Always check your credit card statement

When your statement arrives CHECK IT as a good habit! Make sure everything is accounted for and it you feel somethings not listed that you purchased. You could pick up a fraudulent transaction or one you think is. Ring your credit card provider right away and report it. Your credit card provider has a process they go through with you that is worthwhile getting to know. Also keep in mind the the credit card provider can freeze your account until the matter is sorted out. All for your protection.

No matter how small or if you only feel something is not right REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY

If you feel that somethings going on that is not right report it to your bank immediately, and if the activity relates to an ATM try to contact the ATM provider and report it, you could save yourself and others from being scammed. Call or visit your local police station if you suspect your account has been compromised. Ring Crime Stoppers they will also offer assistance the number in Australia is 1800 333 000.

When traveling out of the country Notify your bank

Tell you bank or credit card providers where you will be traveling to, The cities and countries and the time frame in each place this will help them identify legitimate transactions you make when you are away. Your credit card provider has an over view of your spending habits and thus has a good idea of the type of transactions to expect. By telling them you are going that can similarly help them detect suspicious activity. Plus this allows them to make contact with you if they need to verify a transaction. When leaving the country for a longer period of time, it is wise to inform the bank and credit card providers that you will not planning to use the card for a while.

A few credit card features that can help protect you against skimming

Most credit cards these days already contain certain default features to help safeguard your account against fraud.

Chip-and-PIN Technology

When you have both a chip and PIN to authorise your transactions on your credit cards this does make it extra difficult for fraudsters.

The embedded microchip does hold encrypted the details about your card and that makes it much more difficult for criminals (fraudsters) with skimmers to obtain your information. Your personal PIN also assists verify you in-person transactions again making it harder for thieves to use your credit card for purchases that are of course fraudulent. Just keep in mind that you DO NOT always need to use your PIN number so it is still very important to check your credit card statements.

Fraud Monitoring Services

Just about all credit card providers have fraud monitoring services. Credit card providers use these established security systems or in-house fraud monitoring teams to assist them quickly detect unusual card activity. As mentioned above your credit card provider has an over view of your spending habits and thus has a good idea of the type of transactions to expect. So I f a transaction is flagged with the provided that is when you may receive a phone call asking if a recent transaction was actually yours.

Nil - Zilch - Zero Liability

Zero liability is a form of consumer protection that every credit card providers are obliged to supply you. What this mean is that you as the credit card holder will not be held liable for fraudulent activities that appear on your credit card account or statement. There are however, certain conditions and exceptions to this which you should note: You are obliged to report any fraudulent activity the minute you notice it, and you must also take the best possible care to protect your credit card from loss or theft. You should also check the card policies to check to see if there are some other exclusions.

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