You may have heard the news that credit and debit card fraud has skyrocketed in the first six months of 2012, with a rise of nine per cent on the same period last year, as revealed by the UK Cards Association (UKCA).
Sure, it's a scary figure. But don't grab the scissors and start cutting up every piece of plastic in your wallet/purse just yet. It's really not worth it. Think of all the reward points you'd lose out on, for example, not to mention the protection credit cards offer over the internet.
Protecting yourself There are plenty of ways to make sure you experience the benefits of using plastic while shielding yourself from card-related fraud. The UKCA spoke to detective chief inspector David Carter, of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, and found that simple methods were fuelling the increase.
"Given this rise in old-fashioned crimes - criminals using distraction techniques and duping people into disclosing their passwords and online banking details - we are urging everyone to be on their guard and work with us to help stop this criminal activity," Mr Carter said.
As a result, it's worth keeping an eye out for anyone acting suspicious when you're doing the week's shopping. But be aware that you could also be attacked in the home as well – never disclose your personal details to someone on the other end of the phone or email, even if they claim to be from your bank and seem very genuine.
The advanced fraud Just because the simplistic forms of fraud are on the rise doesn't mean that you should let your guard down on the more advanced. If you buy online regularly, ensure that your antivirus software is up to date and that you take sensible precautions, such as changing your passwords regularly.
Remember that it's not worth panicking when a rise in fraud is revealed. Cards are far too useful to give up entirely, after all. But make sure you're sensible about your personal information and you should find it easy to avoid becoming a statistic.
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