Credit card security & protection

What is credit card fraud?

Credit card fraud is any kind of theft or scam that involves accessing your personal credit card information. Once your personal information is stolen, the fraudster can then use it to make unauthorised purchases or transfer money out of your account.

There are many types of credit card fraud, such as phishing scams and identity theft, and there are ways you can protect yourself against these types of fraud.

What is phishing?

A phishing scam is where a fraudster attempts to trick you into giving up your personal credit card details. This usually involves targeting by email, telephone or text message, with the criminal posing as a legitimate institution to gain your trust before asking you to transfer money or offer up a password.

This type of credit card fraud is very common and can be easy to fall for. Fraudsters can also be quite creative, with new types of phishing scams emerging all the time. Scroll down for some tips on fraud protection and how to spot a phishing scam.

What is identity theft? 

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information so they can use your identity to make purchases or sign up to services in your name. Identity theft is particularly dangerous because you might not realise straight away that you’ve been a victim. A fraudster could use your identity behind the scenes, and you won’t notice until you get a bill or a letter for something you didn’t buy or sign up for.

Identity theft can also affect your credit score, as it may look like you’re making irresponsible decisions with your money. This can stop you taking out loans, getting a credit card, applying for a mortgage and even taking out a new mobile phone contract. Learn more about identity theft protection with our tips below. 

How to identify a scammer

Protect yourself against credit card fraud by looking out for these key warning signs:

  • The problem seems urgent – be wary of any email, text or call that asks you to act fast. A common example of this is an email warning that your account will be suspended unless you update details immediately. A legitimate organisation will always give you time to make these changes.
  • They’re asking for passwords, account numbers or other sensitive information – never disclose any personal information over email, text or phone. These should only be entered in a secure way through the company website or portal.
  • Dodgy email addresses - pay close attention to the sender’s email address. If it doesn’t look official, delete the message.
  • Hyperlinks - links are not always what they seem. Hovering over a link will show you the actual URL you’re being sent to. It might be obvious if the URL is dodgy, or it might just have a mis-spelling, so be sure to look carefully before you click.
  • Attachments – if you receive an email with an attachment you weren’t expecting, don’t open it. Attachments may contain ransomware or other viruses that could quickly steal personal information directly from your device.

Worried you might be a victim of credit card fraud? Head to our security and fraud advice page so we can help you safeguard your personal data.