Careful, credit card theft on the rise
VICTORIA Police are concerned at the increase in deception type offences involving the fraudulent use or theft of credit cards.
Crime statistics have shown that these types of offences have increased by 29 per cent over the past year.
Credit card thefts have also seen a rise with Eftpos or ATM facilities increasingly being used in deception offences where a credit card has been stolen or used fraudulently.
Goulburn Valley divisional crime manager Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Maher said the increased popularity of contactless payment options such as ‘tap and go’ and ‘paywave’ have made credit cards a more attractive item for theft.
“The majority of these crimes are opportunistic and so can be avoided,” he said.
“These thefts are more likely to occur when credit cards are left unsecured and left in plain sight.
“They have been stolen from motor vehicles, houses, mailboxes, handbags and wallets when they have not been properly secured.
“During a house burglary at Broadford, a handbag containing the victim’s personal papers and cards was stolen; within a few hours the offenders had used the credit card 12 times, with a total cost of more than $400 - before the victim knew the card had been stolen.
“There are some very simple steps to take to avoid becoming a victim of this type of fraud,” Detective Senior Sergeant Maher said. These steps include:
keep credit/debit cards secure and in a safe place;
don’t leave credit/debit cards and other financial documents in your car;
lock your mailbox and regularly collect mail;
store cards away immediately after using ATMs; and
utilise any extra security features that your bank may offer which will protect your credit cards from being used by anyone but you.
“Regularly monitor your account transactions and avoid using public computers to make online shopping or banking transactions,” Det Snr Sgt Maher said.
“Report any unknown transactions that appear on financial statements to your bank and lost or stolen credit cards should immediately be reported to the police, as well as to your bank.”
Crime prevention fact sheets, which include tips on how to prevent becoming a victim of crime relating to credit card deceptions can be found at www.police.vic.gov.au.