The UK anti-fraud organisation CIFAS recently reported an 11% year-on-year drop in fraudulent activity in 2013.
But that only tells half the story!
Levels of fraud remain high compared to previous years but of most concern is an increase in card fraud, which leapt to 30% in 2013 from 10% in the previous year.
CIFAS described it as a “startling variation from 2012” and said that more than 5,000 cases were reported during the last year, according to preliminary figures.
Being careful with information
It highlights the need to be careful with personal information when purchasing goods and to be aware of any potential scams that could be taking place.
Despite increased spending on fraud prevention and data sharing, people are still losing funds as a result of deception.
Identity fraud did decline in 2013, as did cases where facilities were accessed without permission, but it still accounted for 63% of overall cases.
Application fraud – whereby false information is used when applying for financial products – also fell to represent 17% of all cases.
Tackling the issue
An increase in card fraud means people need to be extra vigilant about their funds, as well as limiting what personal data they have that is easily accessible online.
A prepaid card is not directly related to a bank account, meaning fraudsters are unable to access the account even if a prepaid card is compromised.
In such a situation, the user of the card can call to cancel the card, and their funds can be safely transferred to another.
This additional security can be useful as it represents another barrier between a fraudster and your important personal information.
They need a great deal of this information to successfully commit fraud, so what can you do to protect yourself?
Tips for staying protected
There are a number of ways you can seek to protect yourself from card fraud
- The first step to protecting yourself from fraud is to keep a close eye on your accounts, in order to ensure that unexpected withdrawals and payments are not occurring. If this does occur, you should contact your bank as a matter of urgency to ensure that it has as little impact as possible.
- It is also worth limiting the amount of public information that can be discovered regarding your personal file is also important, especially when it comes to social networking sites. Privacy settings can limit precisely who is allowed to access your accounts and it is methods such as these that have helped to limit bank account fraud in recent years.
- Consider the use of certain payment mechanisms such as prepaid cards or digital wallets such as Skrill and PayPal for online payments as these will protect your normal accounts from exposure.
- Consider using your credit card as opposed to your debit card, where possible, especially if there is no additional involved for using your credit card as credit cards typically tend to have greater protection via the card terms and conditions.
While some fraudulent activity is declining, there is always the need to be careful in order to ensure that you are protected as much as possible.