Credit Cards - Card Fraud

by : Steve Weston

Credit card fraud cases referred to credit reference company Experian have risen by over 66% last year. 6,000 victims of credit card fraud contacted the company in comparison with the 3,500 in 2006.

It is thought that increases in card fraud are caused to an increase in organised crime in the area. Everyone is a potential identity fraud victim, some more so than others. Identity fraud is becoming more common and there are things we can do to prevent ourselves becoming affected.

Londoners are more likely to become victims of fraud than other areas of the UK. Those who rent or live in a shared house are at a greater risk of identity fraud as they move frequently and share communal mail boxes. 36% of identity fraud occurs through forwarding address fraud. The fraudster will forward the post to a drop address and collect the post themselves; gaining all the details they need to gain access to the victim's accounts.

Regularly checking your credit report will enable you to see if any fraudulent activity has occurred. Simple steps such as shielding your pin when using a cash point, not using cash points that look as though they have been tampered with a being careful of the details you pass over the phone when in public can help prevent you from falling victim to credit card fraud. Thanks to chip and pin machines, when paying for goods your card need not be taken out of your sight. This lowers the chance of having your card "skimmed". Shredding your receipts and bank statements when you are finished with them is a good way of preventing your information from being stolen after you have disposed of it. It is also advisable to make sure your pin number is not traceable. This means avoiding obvious numbers such as birthdates and addresses.

If you do fall victim to credit card fraud the law states you are not responsible for any fraudulent activity if the original card is still in your possession. This means that your bank should refund any money you may have lost. If the card is lost and stolen and fraudulent activity happens then you are required to pay damages of up to ?50 by the Consumer Credit Act and the Banking Code. Chip and Pin was introduced to cut down card fraud after a similar system was introduced in France cutting card crime by 50%. However, it seems as though the system ahs not been as successful as the authorities had hoped. By being aware of the risks you are able to be proactive about making it harder for the fraudsters to target you.