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Insider Tips

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Top tips to combat credit card fraud

Checking our card statements should be an easy and hassle-free process, but what if a transaction you see surprises you? The suspicious amount might be a low value ride-share transaction you do not recognise. Or it might be a seriously large purchase that you know you definitely did not buy. Either way, your heart will skip a beat when you realise you have been stung by credit card fraud.

Credit card fraud is a big and growing problem. Credit card providers already offer fraud protection so you should not have to pay for transactions you did not make. Additionally, card providers also have fraud-monitoring in place with sophisticated software that looks for unusual transactions and staff members who contact card holders to query suspicion transactions.

So why are so many people losing their hard-earned cash to credit card scammers?

Ray's story of credit card fraud

Recently, I did a segment on Channel 9’s A Current Affair about credit card fraud, what it looks like and what the fallout can be.

Meet Ray, the victim of credit card fraud. A Virgin Money customer, Ray, lives at the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. He was using his credit card for his regular purchases, when he noticed his same card was also being used overseas on a lavish holiday.

Ray knew he was not overseas on a holiday and he assumed that his bank would believe him, because Australians currently can’t travel overseas without the Government’s approval because of Covid-19 restrictions. Ray thought his credit card provider would easily reverse the transactions, particularly as he reported the problem within 24 hours of the transaction happening.

Check out the segment to find out what happened to Ray and his money. After you watch the segment, have your voice heard about Ray's complaint with his bank and those credit card fraudsters. We want to know your opinion below.


Raise your voice - Vote below!


It is very important to know what surprises might pop up on your credit card so you can deal with any issues as soon as they appear in your statements.

We want you to avoid having the same experience as Ray, so please read on for our tips on preventing and dealing with credit card fraud.

What is credit card fraud

Credit card fraud is officially called an unauthorised transaction. An unauthorised transaction is one you did not agree to allow. This is the critical question in determining whether you are responsible for the transaction amount.

As a general rule, you are not liable for unauthorised transactions. Although there are circumstances where you may be held responsible to pay for some or all of the transaction.

A credit card transaction IS authorised if you:

    • Use your pin to authorise a credit card purchase
    • Sign a credit card slip
    • Give your credit card details over the telephone or internet
    • Present your card for payment (with or without signature)

If you did not authorise a credit card transaction then you should seek a refund from your financial institution for the amount of that unauthorised transaction.

If you have authorised the credit card transaction but did not receive the goods or services you paid for, that is a whole different topic, which we will cover in another article soon.

Make it a habit to review your account statements regularly to check if there are any unauthorised transactions on your account.

  a photo of laptop and credit card

How can I reduce the chance of credit card fraud on my account

If you want to enjoy having a credit card for online purchases and the like without experiencing credit card fraud, we recommend the following:

    • Keep your credit card in your sight if possible.
    • Keep your PIN or password secret. Do not use a PIN someone could guess, for example your birthday or part of your name.
    • Never write your PIN or password on your card or on a document kept with your card. If possible memorise your PIN and do not write it anywhere. Do not let anyone see you entering your PIN/password at an ATM or EFTPOS machine.
    • Immediately report any irregularity, such as a merchant who passes your card through more than one piece of equipment, or retains your card for an unreasonably long period when accepting payment, to your financial institution.

What to do when you see credit card fraud on your statement

    • Contact your financial institution ASAP
Call your financial institution ASAP and tell them that there is an unauthorised transaction.
    • Block the card
Immediately put a ‘stop’ on your account to prevent more fraudulent transactions.
    • Write to your financial institution
Use Handle My Complaint’s system to confirm you have contacted your financial institution about the unauthorised transaction before your credit card due date so you are not asked to pay the amount in dispute. Create and account with us to keep a record for your reference in the future.  

Making a complaint

If the financial institution believes you are responsible to pay for the transaction and you do not agree with their decision, you should take the following step:

Step 1

Use Handle My Complaint to complain to your card provider in writing. List the reasons why the transaction was unauthorised and why you should not be held responsible to pay the amount in dispute. Provide all your supporting documentation upfront. We will send you confirmation of your complaint and, if you have an account with us, we will keep a copy of this complaint for your future reference.

Step 2

If the financial institution does not resolve your complaint within a reasonable time (for example 30 days), we will know to escalate your complaint to the appropriate external dispute resolution scheme. The scheme is likely to be the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA):

Phone: 1800 931 678


Email: [email protected]

Post: GPO Box 3, Melbourne, Victoria 3001

You should always lodge your complaint as soon as it is clear that you cannot resolve your dispute with your financial institution as time limits apply to your right to complain.

And just remember, if you encounter credit card fraud, we are here to help you resolve the issue, suspicious payment or otherwise.

You can tell us what has happened and what will alleviate your worries. Just say the magic words 'Help Me Handle It'.