Care­ful, credit card theft on the rise

Mt Buller News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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