Credit card fraud explodes

Australians lost over half a billion dollars in credit fraud last year and the number is continuing to grow, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

New ABS data shows 383,300 people lost an average of $1600 through credit fraud last year, while 124,000 people suffered identity theft and 57,800 were affected by “phishing” scams.

The numbers reinforce data from the Australian Payments Clearing Association which shows the dollar value of fraudulent credit card transactions grew 30% between 2006-07.

Andrew Wallis, analyst at independent research company Gartner, told theage.com.au that banks may be partly to blame for the problem.

“To encourage customers to get into online banking, the banks and online merchants downplayed the risks of fraud,” he says.

“It’s a classic thing. How do you get people moving into something? Well, you don’t tell them it’s dangerous. You don’t mention the negative side. You’ll extol the virtues and the benefits.”

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