Opinion: The credit card bill no-one wants

I'VE never been a victim of fraud before.

That is, until last week, when someone tried to use my credit card 91 times in just seven minutes, at 1.38am.

I was sceptical when I received an urgent message from the bank asking me to phone them about a potential fraud incident - I thought the text message could have been a scam.

But eventually I discovered the bad news. Almost $3000 was spent on my credit card in the dead of the night.

Thankfully the bank has been understanding (so far) and I should get the money back in 10-15 working days.

It's made me worried about how and where I've used my credit card.

I'm actually pretty careful, although not quite as careful as an overly paranoid friend of mine, who gave me a lecture about doing online banking, online shopping and even using my bank's official mobile app.

This friend still pays his bills at the post office. I think he stashes money in his mattress.

I'm not going to go that far, but I have upgraded the anti-virus software on my phone and laptop, and I will be keeping a close watch on my bank statements.

Fraud and scams are common. Almost every week I get a phone call in this newsroom from a reader, alerting me to a new scam doing the rounds, so we need to be careful.

ScamWatch has just released a really good list of ways to keep safe online in 2016. Tips include:

  • Set strong passwords
  • Protect your email with spam filters
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software
  • Only pay via a secure web page, one that has a valid digital certificate, using a secure payment method such as PayPal, BPay, or your credit card.

Visit scamwatch.gov.au or phone 1300 795 995.

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