"Don't be a victim
Take care of your credit cards
Credit card fraud is more than one kind of crime...
Most cases involve "skimming" where the genuine information held on the card's magnetic strip is copied electronically onto another card without the owner's knowledge.
"Card Not Present" Fraud
This involves using fraudulently-acquired card details (often from a discarded receipt) to make a purchase over the phone, the internet or by mail order.
Known in America as "dumpster diving" this relatively new (but increasingly more common) crime is often refered to here as "bin raiding". Offenders can glean enough information from our rubbish to pull off the most elaborate frauds using our personal details.
Cash Machine Fraud
Many cases occur when the cardholder's PIN is kept with their card in a purse or wallet that is stolen.
Be aware of anyone who is crowding you at an ATM. Known as "shoulder surfing", offenders find out your PIN and then steal your card using distraction techniques or pickpocketing.
Offenders also can tamper with the ATM causing your card to stick in the machine. They later retrieve it and use it with your PIN.
Fraudulent use of card details occurs most often through telephone and mail ordering, less so through the Internet.
Estimates suggest that 1 in 5 credit card frauds committed on-line involve betting sites, according to a study by Europay and APACS. Card users "borrow" other people's card details for their stake in a growing industry that sees some £75m wagered every day, with about 300,000 punters placing bets on-line.
Skimming is the most prevalent type of card counterfeiting and criminals are estimated to lift information from as many at 200 cards a day, using them to spend an average £1,600 on each card they copy
How You Can Protect Your Cards
Guard your cards - don't let them out of your sight when making a transaction.
Be careful with your transaction receipts - don't lose them and dispose of them carefully.
Check your receipts against your statement regularly - contact your card issuer immediately if you find a discrepancy.
Never write down your PIN and never disclose it to someone else - even if they claim to be from your card issuer or the police.
Report lost or stolen cards immediately to your card issuer. You will find the appropriate number on the back of your statment and Directory Enquiries hold most telephone numbers.
Sign any new cards immediately and ensure you cut up the old card when the new card becomes valid or is activated.
Don't keep your cards in the same place as your cheque book.Keep your purse and wallet secure about your person. If you use a handbag, make sure your purse is kept in a secure pocket and be aware pickpockets.
Don't leave cards unattended in briefcases, pocket book or jacket. At work, keep your bag and other personal belongings locked in a cupboard or drawer.
When on holiday, use the hotel safe or safe deposit box.
Consider registering with a card protection scheme, particularly if you have a number of cards