A guide to credit card security – what you need to know

Last year, just over one million people in Australia were victims of card fraud. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), this made for a total of $2.1 billion in card fraud over the 2014-2015 period. So how is a problem this big best avoided?

While the rise of internet banking and online shopping may be convenient to our modern, busy lifestyles, it is far from safe. With a new phishing scam waiting around every corner, credit card security has become more important than ever.

Identifying a fraudulent website and avoiding phishing

In order to prevent getting conned, it’s important to be able to identify a fraudulent website. A good indication of a legitimate website is the URL. Over a secure connection, the displayed address should begin with “https”. If a webpage only has a “http” fronting the URL and changes to a “https” after you’ve logged in, your username and password have been encrypted and you are on a secure page.

Another thing to look out for is the lock icon. Due to this icon being an easy target for duplication, it’s important to always click the padlock to see security details.

Most financial institutions also have disclaimers on their webpages, warning people they don’t contact customers through email asking them to log in to their accounts or provide personal information.This is to prevent people from falling for fake emails that claim to have been sent by their bank. These emails are a form of phishing, an activity in which all kinds of information is requested, including but not limited to credit card numbers, security codes, and even PIN numbers.

Tap-and-go technology

When tap-and-go technology was introduced in 2009, people could make quick, low-cost purchases without even having to bother with a PIN or signature.

Luckily the system also has highly sophisticated security measures to make sure transactions are secure. Encryption technology prevents credit card data from being compromised and each transaction comes with a unique code.

Tips to protect your sensitive information

There are always precautions you can take in terms of credit card protection – like choosing a secure PIN. Once you’ve chosen a code, don’t write it down anywhere. When you enter your PIN, make sure your hand is always covered.

When you’re travelling, avoid using public computers for anything bank-related. If it’s your only option, always double check you’ve erased the browsing history, including passwords. Never leave the computer unattended and make sure to securely log out before you leave.

If you do become of victim of fraud, immediate contact needs to be made with the police as well as the card issuer. They can then cancel the card if it has been lost, stolen, or any unauthorised transactions have been made.