Dealing with bank card fraud

Card Fraud, be it credit card or debit card, is when your card details are stolen by fraudsters, who either use them to make unauthorised transactions, most frequently payments and identity theft, or to sell them on to other criminals. You will have noticed card transactions have been made using your bank cards which you did not authorise.

Fraudsters can gain access to your credit card data in a number of ways including stolen cards (either from your or stealing the data from a company you have paid), card skimming of social engineering. Card skimming is when a copy of your card is taken during a legitimate transaction and the card is then cloned and used. Social engineering is when a criminal tricks you into sharing your card details either in person, over the phone (vishing), on email (phishing) or by text (smishing).

How do I know if I have been a victim of card fraud?

  • Your debit or credit bank statements show transactions or purchases that you don’t remember making or to vendors you don’t recognise

  • Your card is rejected multiple times when you try to use it to make a transaction

  • For credit cards, your credit card provider lets you know that you’ve exceeded your credit limit

  • Your credit or debit card provider notifies you of changes to bank account details that you have not requested.

Approaches to dealing with card fraud

  1. Contact your bank ASAP - You should notify your debit or credit card provider of as soon as you realise there's a problem. They will cancel your cards and reissue new ones. They will also monitor your account and investigate the fraudulent transactions.

  2. Watch out for warning signs of identity theft - Now the criminals have some of your financial details you need to watch for signs of identity theft. First, keep a close eye on your bank and credit card statements, looking for any withdrawals or purchases that you didn’t authorise. You can also check your credit score to monitor the financial products taken out under your name. See more about identity theft here.

Report the crime

If you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you should report all cyber crime to Action Fraud. In Scotland, you can see details of reporting to Police Scotland here.

How do I avoid being a victim of card fraud again?

You can lower the risk of being a victim of card fraud by follow this advice.

  • When you shop online, make sure you use trusted platforms (i.e. check the web address begins with ‘https’ and that there’s an unbroken padlock symbol in the left side of the browser address bar)

  • Use a computer, laptop or mobile device that’s protected with licensed and up-to-date security software

  • Don’t let online websites save a copy of your card details for future use

  • Avoid entering your card details on shared or public WI-FI or computers

  • Make sure you know the seller or provider before giving your card details online or over the phone

  • Register for Verified by Visa and/or MasterCard SecureCode

  • Always log out after shopping and save the confirmation e-mail as a record of your purchase

  • Keep your credit card in sight when you’re using it

  • Keep your PIN private and don’t use numbers like your date of birth

  • Shield your PIN when entering it into a machine

  • Don’t put your credit card into machines that look like they’ve been tampered with

  • Try not to provide anyone with your credit card information over the phone or via e-mail

  • If you hear about a data breach in the news and the company involved holds your personal data, check whether your information has been compromised

  • Regularly check your credit card and bank statements and credit report to ensure that they haven’t recorded activity that you’re unaware of

  • When disposing of an old credit card, cut up the chip and magnetic strip

  • Shred paper copies of credit or debit card statements

  • Close any unused credit card accounts.

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To help people like you we rely 100% on donations from people like you.

Without donations we cannot keep our service free and provide help to the most vulnerable victims of cyber crime when they need it most. As a not-for-profit organisation, 100% of your donation goes towards keeping The Cyber Helpline up and running - so 100% goes towards helping people like you. Donate now and help us support victims of cyber crime. 

To help people like you we rely 100% on donations from people like you.