While the internet has opened up many opportunities for law-abiding citizens it has also presented people with new ways of committing fraud, helping them to remain anonymous and commit crime across international borders.
Phishing is fraud committed over the internet. It includes sending e-mails which falsely claim to originate from banks, asking customers to re-register or 're-activate' their accounts at a replica bank website, with the aim of using the information provided to transfer money out of these accounts.
To protect yourself against phishing never click on links in e-mails that appear to come from your bank or credit card company and which ask you to confirm your financial details. If you suspect you have become a victim of credit card fraud you must report this to the issuer of your card immediately.
Most banks now have 24 hour emergency helplines for their customers and will be able to provide you with help and support on what to do next.
Shopping and banking safely online
A great deal of credit card fraud can be prevented if cardholders take simple precautions and remember some key points when shopping or banking on-line:
- Use a computer that you know is secure i.e. has up to date anti virus software and a firewall installed. Be wary of using internet cafes or public computers for financial transactions.
- Only shop at secure websites and with companies you know you can trust. Before purchasing anything make sure you understand the company’s refund policy and delivery conditions and that you have their postal address.
- When transmitting your personal details look for an unbroken padlock symbol at the bottom corner of your screen and check the beginning of the retailers internet address has changed from http to https. This indicates that you are entering a safe and secure page.
- Keep PINs, passwords and personal information such as name, phone number or address safe and refrain from disclosing these in a chat room or e-mail. You should also be cautious of any e-mails asking you to click on a link or confirm your details and remember that reputable retailers, banks and the police would never ask you to disclose this kind of information over e-mail.
- Keep back-up print outs of all online documentation, e-mails and acknowledgement messages.
- Regularly check your credit card and bank statements for discrepancies.
- Keep documents and personal information in a secure place and dispose of it carefully by shredding anything that contains confidential or financial information.