don't let cards or card details out of your sight when making a transaction.
always check your bank and credit card statements carefully - report any unusual transactions to your bank or card issuer immediately.
store personal information securely and dispose of it carefully.
Rip up or shred documents that contain personal, sensitive or financial information.
Keep your PIN secret, don't write it down and keep it with your card, don't tell it to anyone else and never let anyone else use your card and your PIN.
don't disclose PIN's, login details or passwords in response to unsolicited e-mails or telephone calls claiming to be from your bank or the police.
At cash machines
Take simple precautions at cash machines too:
If you feel that someone near a cash machine is behaving suspiciously, or they make you feel uncomfortable then choose a different machine.
If anything looks unusual on the machine or it looks as though it may have been tampered with do not use it and report it to the bank.
be aware of your surroundings and if you feel that someone is standing too close and may be able to observe you entering your PIN then cancel the transaction and go to a different machine. Some machines have a privacy zone painted on the ground in front of them.
stand close to the machine and always shield the key pad to avoid anyone being able to see you enter your PIN.
once you have completed a transaction put your card and money away discreetly before you leave the machine.
if the cash machine retains your card report this to the bank or building society immediately.
don't let yourself be distracted and don't accept help from strangers - however well meaning they seem.
dispose of your cash machine receipt, mini statement or balance enquiry with care - preferably by tearing them up or shredding them before you discard them.
THE PIN REVERSAL MYTH
- Stories have circulated that if you enter your PIN in reverse at a cash machine it will somehow notify the police that criminal activity is taking place. This is not true. All that will happen is that the machine will ask you to re-enter your PIN.
Stay safe shopping online
- Make sure your computer is not at risk of compromise: enable Windows updates; install (and keep up to date) antivirus software and anti spyware software. There are very good products that can be obtained free.
- Shop on secure websites only. These will have the padlock or unbroken key symbol in your browser window, and the address of the website will begin "https" instead of "http".
- Use sites that you know you can trust - well known retailers or sites that have been recommended to you by a trusted friend or relative.
- Sign up to Verified by Visa or Mastercard Secure Code. You may be offered the chance to join these schemes while you are shopping online. They offer an additional layer of security as they involve a password for use when shopping online.
What should I do if I have been a victim of card fraud?
Report lost or stolen cards or suspected fraud to the issuer of your card immediately. There will be a 24 hour emergency number on your statement, or see the helpful list of numbers in the Cardholder section of the Cardwatch website, or you can call directory enquiries.
Check your bank and credit card statements as soon as they arrive and report any unusual transactions to your bank or card issuer straight away. There will be a telephone number on your statement.
As a victim of card fraud the highest amount that you are liable for is £50, however if you have acted fraudulently or without reasonable care you will be liable for all the losses. See the protecting your accounts section in the Banking Code for details of how you are protected.
Where can I find out more?
Download a copy of Keep Your Cards Safe - a leaflet that provides simple practical information about how to use plastic cards safely.
Visit the cardholders sectionof the Cardwatch website for helpful information and advice
Fraud costs the economy an enormous amount:
- a recent report commissioned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) estimated the cost of fraud to be at least £13.9bn a year. (See the full report here (new window))
- plastic card fraud alone cost £428m in 2006 (figures published by APACS, the UK Payment Industry)
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