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Credit card fraud

Plastic card fraud involves the compromise of any personal information from credit, debit or store cards.

The personal information stolen from a card, or the theft of a card itself, can be used to commit fraud.

Fraudsters might use the information to purchase goods in your name or obtain unauthorised funds from an account.

Plastic card fraud can also include ‘card not present’ fraud, such as the use of a card online, over the phone or by mail order, and counterfeit card fraud.

Protect yourself against plastic card fraud

Keep all your cards and financial details safe:

  • look after your cards and card details at all times. Try not to let your card out of your sight when making a transaction
  • check receipts against statements carefully. Contact your card company immediately if you find an unfamiliar transaction
  • store your statements, receipts and financial documents safely and destroy them, preferably using a shredder, when you dispose of them
  • sign any new cards as soon as they arrive
  • cut expired cards through the magnetic strip and chip when replacement cards arrive.

Secure your PIN:

  • memorise your PIN and destroy any paper notification as soon as you receive it
  • ensure that you’re the only person that knows your PIN. Never write it down or record it. Your bank or the police will never phone you and ask you to disclose your PIN
  • when entering your PIN, use your free hand and your body to shield the number from prying eyes or hidden cameras. If you think someone has seen your PIN or if you want to change it to something more memorable, you can change it at a cash machine (ATM) or by contacting your bank.

Take care when using cash machines:

  • put your personal safety first. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, cancel the transaction and use a different machine
  • if you spot anything unusual about the cash machine, or if there are signs of tampering, don’t use it. Report it to the bank concerned immediately
  • be alert. If someone is crowding or watching you, cancel the transaction and go to another machine. Don’t accept help from seemingly well-meaning strangers and never allow yourself to be distracted
  • once you’ve completed a transaction, put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine. If the cash machine doesn’t return your card, report its loss immediately to your card company. Destroy or preferably shred your cash machine receipt, mini-statement or balance enquiry when you dispose of them. 

Contact your bank immediately if you think your card or personal information has been compromised.

If fraud has been committed, report it to Action Fraud.

See also:
Counterfeit cheques
Online shopping fraud
Identity theft and fraud