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10 things you can do to avoid credit card fraud

In FY 2014/2015 the Australian Payments Clearing Association reported over $405-million in credit card and debit card fraud. Imagine if you woke up one morning and your entire bank account was empty or suddenly your credit card was maxed out with a list of charges you did not make. Credit card fraud is a very real threat in today’s ecommerce based society and as technology expands, offering more convenient ways to pay the opportunities for credit card fraud and criminal activity expand also. Here are 10 precautions you can take to protect your credit card and identity.

1. Run a system check and virus scan on your computer

If you do most of your internet baking on your home computer then it’s important to protect your computer against viruses and spyware. Here at Westpac, we offer a free system check and virus scan as part of Westpac Security Tools to help you maintain your online protection. Viruses and spyware can infiltrate your computer via general web browsing and downloading infected files; however, installing virus protection software will help guard your computer.

2. Check the security certificates

Simply put, a security certificate and a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) are security features of a website that encrypt sensitive information being passed between your web browser and the bank’s web server. The easiest way to check if you are accessing an authentic and protected site is to look for a padlock icon in the address bar. Here at Westpac, you can also identify your secure browser by looking for the green address bar.

3. Sign in with fingerprint sign in

Westpac was one of the first mobile banking apps to introduce fingerprint access to mobile banking on supported devices. Fingerprint sign in for mobile banking means you can access you’re the Westpac mobile banking app by using your fingerprint for authentication rather than a 4 digit passcode. Learn more about fingerprint sign in today.

4. Register for a SecurID® token

A SecurID® token is a keyring-like device that generates a unique code which acts as an additional password for Westpac mobile banking. This second password adds an extra layer of security to your account and allows you to perform extra functions such as instant password reset and higher daily payment limits. Registration is simple and your first 3 tokens are free.

5. If you’ve misplaced your card, lock it

If you’ve misplaced your credit card, you can temporarily ‘lock’ your card through Westpac Online Banking. The lock can last up to 15 days but you can unlock it anytime. If the card is gone for good then you can report it lost or stolen and request a replacement card. If your card stays locked for 15 days and you do not report it lost or stolen, it will automatically unlock after the fifteenth day.

6. Keep up to date with scams

Hundreds of scams are developed every day and some are easier to identify than others. Keeping up to date with the latest scams will empower you to identify a scam straight away and avoid becoming defrauded. Keep an eye out for suspicious emails requesting you to open attachments, provide personal details or click on a link. If you are in doubt contact us on 132 032 and remember, Westpac will never include links to login pages, or request you to update your personal details information, account details, PIN or passwords in an email.

7. Report any unauthorised credit card transactions

It’s important to review your credit card statements at least monthly to check for any strange transactions. Keep an eye out for minimal deposits or withdrawals such as $0.01 or $1.00 and transactions from other countries.

8. Don’t share your pin

This one may seem a little bit obvious but protecting your pin is key to protecting your credit card health. Remember you don’t select or disguise your PIN using any of the following combinations (or parts of them):

  • consecutive numbers i.e. 1,2,3,4
  • birthdays
  • social security numbers
  • licence numbers
  • personal telephone numbers
  • car registration numbers
  • your name
  • family members’ names

Also remember to always keep your banking pin different to other common pin numbers, such as your unlock code on your phone and don’t give your pin to other people.

9. Protect yourself against identity theft

Your identity is one of your most valuable assets so it’s important that you take careful steps to ensure its protection. These include:

  • Destroy any printed material that contains personal details, like your full name, birthday, address, credit card details and tax file number before throwing in the rubbish
  • Secure your mailbox with a key, padlock or obtain a PO Box.

10. Keep your card close

Criminals are crafty and there are multiple ways your credit card details can be stolen.


Card skimmers are small electronic devices that can be fitted to ATMS to steal credit card and pin numbers. Skimmers cans also be handheld or used with a smart phone. This information can then be used to transact online or to create a clone of the card.

You can minimize your risk of card skimming by:

  • Inspecting ATMS to see if the card reader is loose or different
  • Covering your pin when using an ATM
  • Presenting your card at the payment terminal  yourself, rather than giving it to someone else to process
  • Opting to use Mastercard® Tap & go™ insert your card to use the chip rather than swiping the magnetic strip
  • Being cautious of people who have ‘back-up’ eftpos® machines   and try to scan the magnetic strip of your card multiple times.

Stolen mail

Opportunistic thieves with nimble fingers are known to access unsecured mailboxes and steal credit cards. The best precaution is to secure your letterbox with a key or padlock. If you are concerned about the safety of your mail then you can opt to pick up your card from your local Westpac branch.


Good, old fashioned pick-pocketing is still a popular method of theft. Be wary when travelling in busy areas such as train stations and always ensure your bags are closed and avoid carrying your wallet in your back pocket.

What to do if you think you have experienced fraud?

If you suspect you have fallen victim to credit card fraud or have noticed some suspicious activity, then contact us straight away by calling 132 032 or  +61 2 9155 7700 from overseas, anytime.
Things you should know

Information valid as at 01/09/2016. Fingerprint sign in is available on a range of iPhone and iPad devices with fingerprint capability and iOS8 and above and on selected Samsung smartphones with fingerprint capability and Android 4.4 and above. A list of eligible devices is available at Customers must be registered for Westpac Online Banking to access fingerprint sign in and card lock. Terms and conditions, fees and charges apply. This information does not take into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. Read the online banking terms and conditions at or in branch before making a decision about whether the product is appropriate for you.

© Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714

Mastercard® is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.