What’s card fraud

Card fraud occurs when someone uses your bank cards or accounts to make purchases you didn’t authorise or know about. They do this by using your physical bank cards (whether lost or stolen) or card details that they’ve gotten hold of without your knowledge.

Here are the most common ways card fraud can occur:

  • Lost or stolen cards
  • Stolen mail
  • Counterfeit card is made
  • Malware
  • Database breach
  • Random card number generation
  • Providing your card details to third parties
  • Card skimming

How to protect yourself online

  • Before you browse or shop online, ensure your computer’s anti-virus is up-to-date
  • Navigate directly to an online store using your web browser, rather than by clicking an email or social media link
  • Pause before you pay – conduct some additional checks before providing an online merchant with your credit card details, such as reading the merchant’s reviews on Google and social media, and any comments by customers on their social media ads
  • Check that the website begins with https:// before providing card details online
  • Consider using a low-balance card to limit your losses should your card details fall into the wrong hands
  • Regularly check your statements. If you’ve been shopping online, keep an eye on your transaction history and report anything suspicious as soon as possible. A small, unauthorised charge can be the first sign of credit card theft – a very small transaction, sometimes of just a few cents that you dismiss is often to check if your account is active before they use it for a big transaction
  • Think twice before connecting to free public Wi-Fi networks. Cybercriminals like to lurk on public networks and intercept your activities, or even set up rogue hotspots for you to connect to, so never shop or bank online using public Wi-Fi

How to protect yourself in store

  • Make sure no one can see your PIN when you enter it. Cover your hand and beware of bystanders or concealed cameras
  • Be discreet when withdrawing cash
  • If you believe an ATM may have been tampered with, don’t use it. Tell staff at the nearest branch or call the local police station
  • Tell-tale signs of tampering can include: 
  • Glue residue around the card reader slot.
  • No green light flashing around the card reader
  • Abnormal or loose fixtures
  • Exposed wires
  • Merchandise holders attached to the side of the ATM, where they can be used to hide a camera. Remember, CommBank never attaches merchandise holders to our ATMs
  • A fake-looking keypad, or a keypad with a loose plate
  • Only hand your card to someone you trust and keep your card in sight during a transaction
  • If contactless isn’t available to tap your card, insert your card into the terminal to use the chip instead of swiping the magnetic stripe
  • If you are in a store or taxi and the assistant wants to swipe your card out of your sight or in a second machine, ask for your card back and either pay by cash or cheque, or consider not making the purchase

Things you should know

As this advice has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. The information provided on this page has been compiled by CommBank to educate you on ways to minimise the likelihood of being victim to fraud or experience unauthorised transactions on your accounts, and where to seek help if you believe either of these have occurred.