Eftpos fraud triples in one year

Eftpos fraud has almost tripled in the last financial year due to skimming and electronic forgery, according to new figures from the Australian Payments Clearing Association.


According to the APCA, the total value of counterfeit debit card and skimming scams last financial year was $21.8 million, up from $11.2 million in the previous year.


The association estimates the annual cost of credit card fraud hit $155 million, with skimming accounting for $76 million and online fraud $65 million.


Card skimming is the illegal copying of information from the magnetic strip of a credit or ATM card.


Once scammers have skimmed a card, they can create a fake or cloned card with a person’s details on it.


MasterCard and Visa have put pressure on banks to accelerate the rollout of smartcards, and related terminals, to customers that use a chip instead of the less secure magnetic stripe.


APCA chief executive Chris Hamilton says chip technology is making Australia less attractive for fraudsters from other countries.


However, he says Eftpos fraud hurt retailers of all sizes, but the larger retailers tend to be more aware of it.


“Sometimes the smaller guys don’t think about it because it’s never happened to them personally” he says.


“Treat your Eftpos terminal as if it’s a bundle of bank notes – don’t leave it unattended and put it out of sight if it’s not being used. Also, take an interest in terminal data.”


The APCA says merchants should be particularly vigilant where:


  • There is one staff member working on the premises alone.
  • The business is in an isolated or remote location.
  • The business is left unattended or closed for a period during the day.
  • Particular Eftpos terminals are not often attended or supervised.
  • Wireless Eftpos terminals are in use; it can be harder to keep track of these terminals at all times.


Keep a list of all Eftpos terminals on your premises, detailing:

  • The make, model and serial number.
  • Where each Eftpos terminal is kept on your premises.
  • Any stickers on the Eftpos terminal and where they are placed.
  • The type of cables connected to the Eftpos terminal.


Check daily for any evidence of tampering:


  • Do all the details recorded on your list still match your Eftpos terminals?
  • Have any stickers been removed or replaced?
  • Does any part of the cabling look different?
  • Are any additional or unknown items of electronic equipment connected to the Eftpos terminal?


If you suspect that an Eftpos terminal has been tampered with, or you notice anything suspicious:


  • Disconnect the terminal immediately and contact your Eftpos services provider.
  • Keep the Eftpos terminal in a secure place so that any evidence (eg. fingerprints) will be preserved.


The ACCC has also urged business owners to remain vigilant about scammers in the lead-up to Christmas.


ACCC deputy chair Peter Kell says scammers have a greater opportunity at Christmas time to “sneak under the radar” of consumers who are distracted with buying presents.


“That’s why the ACCC has launched a Christmas SCAMwatch alert reminding consumers to bolster their defences,” he says.


Visit SCAMwatch.


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