We frequently worry about our credit card details being stolen and misused, but how common is the problem and how much might we lose? New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suggest that while credit card fraud is a large problem, we're almost as likely to be sucked in by other scams.
The ABS research covers "personal fraud", a broad area that includes credit card fraud, identity theft and general scams. The survey asked 26,405 households about their fraud-related experiences. The good news -- and it's worth mentioning this -- is that the vast majority of people were not victims of any of these crimes. Just 3.7 per cent experienced credit card fraud, 0.3 per cent suffered from identity theft, and 2.9 per cent were victims of other scams. The total cost of personal fraud was calculated at $1.4 billion.
That means, in absolute terms, you are not particularly likely to suffer from credit card fraud. On the other hand, it's much more likely to happen to you than winning the lottery, and that 3.7 per cent number translates to 662,300 people. So it's definitely worth the effort to check your statements and immediately query anything suspicious so that the charge can be reversed. According to the survey, 72.4 per cent of credit card fraud victims sought reimbursement, and 64 per cent received it.
Some more notable figures:
- Three in five victims of personal fraud suffered a financial loss as a result, with a median loss of $300.
- The richer you are, the better the chance you'll be a victim of identity theft. 7.2 per cent of people earning more than $2,000 a week suffered identity theft, compared to 2.7 per cent of those earning under $500 a week. This makes sense; who wants to pretend to be poor?
- While the majority of scams were seen online (55.7 per cent), phone scams remain common as well (41.2 per cent).
- While 6.4 million Australians were exposed to a scam, just 514,500 responded to one. The most commonly encountered scam types are seen below, with fake lotteries topping the chart.