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Debit and credit card fraud

What it is

When personal information is stolen from your debit, credit or store card, or the card itself is stolen, in order for money to be taken from your account or used to buy items in your name.

Protect yourself

  • Look after your cards – keep them with you everywhere you go. Never hand over a card, particularly if you’re paying using a contactless card machine.
  • Be protective of your banking information. Either keep your statements, receipts and documents stored safely, or destroy them using a shredder.
  • Sign new cards as soon as they arrive, and cut old cards through the magnetic strip and the chip once they’ve expired or been cancelled.

Spot the signs

  • Your card is rejected when you try to pay with it or withdraw money, but you’re sure there were funds in your account last time you checked.
  • You’ve spotted unusual activity on your bank statements, such as purchases you don’t remember making or cash withdrawals from places you don’t remember visiting.
  • Your bank or the police will never get in touch to ask you for your PIN as a ‘security check’. If you get a call, text message or voicemail like this, don’t give away anything.

How it happens

Fraudsters use different techniques to find out the details on your card. They may make up an excuse to see your card when you’re using it to buy something or withdraw cash.

If someone knows the details of your card, such as the 16-digit number, expiry date and security code on the back, they can use the information to buy in your name. This is done by making ‘card not present’ purchases, such as online shopping, when the seller doesn’t ask whoever’s buying for the actual card, just the information on it. Someone using your card’s information can have the goods delivered to them, but you pick up the cost.

Alternatively, they may use the information to create a counterfeit card, or clone the card by skimming the data held on the chip or magnetic strip.

Your card can also be vulnerable if you’re using it at a cash machine. Make sure you know how to protect yourself when you check your balance or make a withdrawal.

How to report it

Report it to us online or call 0300 123 2040.