In a recent survey, it has been found that half of those questioned have received an E-mail that was connected to people who were trying to fraudulently access people’s personal details to credit cards and bank accounts.

“Phishing” as it is called is becoming more widespread on the Internet and it is thought that one in every twenty member’s of the British public are loosing money through this practice, which has led to 5% being left out of pocket through this, with half having to pay for it by themselves as the banks did not cover them for this type of fraud, with a further 10th of those still awaiting for the banks to deal with the matter.

This form of Internet fraud is not only becoming more widespread, but is also becoming a lot harder to spot, as the “Phishers” are turning it into an art form, by using legitamate brands in such a way that they lead you into believing that they are the real deal. This is why people who use the Internet will have to be more vigilant protecting themselves from this form of fraud.

Credit card fraud is reported to have jumped to a fifth last year to £504 million in the U.K and included in this is the card not present fraud, where the credit card is used over the telephone or Internet to make purchase, where in the region of £151 million is lost to the fraudsters this way. Identity theft resulted in the loss of £37 million.

Add to this the looses due to “Skimming” where your credit card details are taken by swiping your credit card through a machine that stores your card details and then will be used to make counterfeited credit cards, that are then used in your name.

Being more aware when using your credit cards or the Internet to buy goods is more essential now than ever before, a couple of tips being never let your credit cards out of your sight and when using the Internet, if you receive an E-mail that requires you to give your account numbers and passwords, check with the company involved first by contacting them by telephone, though don’t use any phone number that may be accompanied with the E-mail.

Credit card fraud is something that can happen to us all, so the thought of it happening is frightening and we should always be on our guard, in the fight against it becoming a reality.

There are many things we should be looking out for and the main one is the credit card it’s self, NEVER and I mean NEVER let your little piece of plastic out of your sight for a second and make sure it is returned to you as quickly as you handed it over. Credit cards have been known to be, what is called in the trade as “Skimmed”, which can happen in a split second on a small machine under the counter, which once swiped will then store all the information from your credit card and will then be used for criminal purposes.

With the introduction of Chip and Pin, make sure that your Pin (which will come in the form of a four-digit number) is not written down in your purse or wallet along with your card, this will only make it easier for the crooks to get there sticky little fingers on your cash.

When inserting your Pin into the holder to make a transaction, always make sure that the person behind you in the queue is not of a suspicious nature and is trying to look over your shoulder to get a glimpse of your number as you punch it in.

Now another way in which we will use our credit cards, that was never what we really intended in using them for, but is now just as likely to be used to buy goods as much as in a store, it’s the Internet. The main problem with the Internet is the fact you are handing over your credit card details to something that is faceless and you are basically putting all of your trust in the site that you are making the purchase from.

A few things to keep in mind when dealing with the Internet are to always make sure that the site you are shopping on is secure; this will usually be shown with a small padlock on the page to indicate this site is secure. If this is not shown then you will be at risk of fraud on your credit card, so it is advisable to try and avoid this at all costs.

Phishing

Another thing that the Internet might throw at you is you may be sent E-mails asking for your bank or credit card details, if so you should ignore these without thought, because anybody who has your relevant information will not need to know it twice.

Some crooks will send you an E-mail that will go down the lines of, that they are your credit card company and due to a computer glitch, they will need you to send on your details to update the system, this is all lies and all credit card companies have your details stored and this would never happen. This is called “Phishing”.

Other things to protect you against credit card fraud can include making sure all statements or credit card receipts are shredded and disposed of so that prying eyes will be able to see them, as crooks are not embarrassed to look through your bins to get hold of any piece of paper which may have your credit card number on it.

SIGN your credit card as soon as it is in your possession; never lend your credit card to a family member or friend, they might not be as careful with it as you. If you can carry your credit cards separately away from your wallet or purse, this will also cut down on the chances of you being stung, as most will target those expecting all of your cash and credit cards to be in the one handy place. The last one and one that is not so obvious, always make sure that you inform your credit card issuers of any change of address, this will stop any chance of anybody who may now live in your old home, who may suddenly receive your details on a statement or letter from your credit card company that is addressed to you and decide to use the card in your name to purchase goods for the property that they now live in, or they could hand them over to an outside source for cash, giving them the opportunity to use your details to make a false credit card with a signature of there choice to purchase goods in your name also.