Increase in online credit card fraud: Alert Priority high

3 August 2017

Increase in online credit card fraud: Alert Priority high

Online credit card fraud increased significantly in 2016 with criminals netting $417.6 million, up from $363 million in 2015. The new finding has been revealed by The Australian Payments Network in its annual fraud data report. Other key findings included the overall amount of fraud on Australian cards cost $534 million, up from $461 million last year, and that for every $1000 spent online, 74.7 cents were lost to fraud, up from 66.9 cents in 2015.

Ways to protect yourself

Online credit card fraud occurs when valid card details are stolen and then used to make fraudulent payments over the internet, telephone, or by mail order. To help protect against your credit card details being stolen, things you can do include:

  • Be wary of clicking links or opening attachments in emails if they’re not from someone you know. In particular, watch out for messages supposedly from banks or government departments that ask you to verify your details or provide login details by visiting a website.
  • Look for the padlock in the navigation bar at the top of the browser window, which indicates that your connection to the site is secure.
  • Only enter your credit card details on reputable sites. Consider using an online payment service so that you don’t need to enter credit card details for every purchase.
  • If possible, use online payment methods that support two-factor authentication.


As Australians embrace the convenience of paying by credit card rather than cash, so fraudsters continue to develop a variety of techniques to steal credit card information. According to the Australian Payments Network, these include malware and phishing attacks to capture sensitive card data or cardholder passwords, and masking tools to try and bypass the risk-based rules used in fraud analytics products.

In a nutshell

  •  Stolen card details accounted for 78% of all fraud on Australian cards in 2016.
  • Online spending in Australia is growing five times faster than traditional retail spending.
  • By 2020, forecasts estimate that online shopping will have doubled since 2015 and will account for 14.6% of all retail sales.
  • Payment cards continue to be the most common payment method used by Australian consumers, accounting for 66.7% of non-cash payments in Australia.

More information

Learn more about online shopping from Stay Smart Online.

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This information has been prepared by the Attorney General’s Department (‘the Department’). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.
This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.
The Commonwealth and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.
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Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.

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