You can avoid credit card fraud if you know how to detect it. There are several different types of credit card fraud to avoid:
* Card not present fraud: fraudsters can obtain your credit card details from such things as discarded receipts. They can then use this information to purchase high value or desirable goods online, by phone or mail order. For transactions online or by phone the retailer does not need to see the card (or require the PIN), hence the name "card not present fraud".
* Identity theft/account takeover fraud: fraudsters can obtain your personal details from various sources including: discarded mail, intercepted post, phishing, vishing, smishing, spoofing, hoax calls, social networking websites, public records, hacking genuine websites and listening in on telephone calls. Once they have your personal details they can use this to access your account, order cards, change your address, complete a balance transfer and assume the identity of a genuine customer in order to purchase goods or obtain funds fraudulently.
* Application fraud: this is another form of identity theft. In this case, the fraudster uses your personal details to apply for a brand new credit card or bank account rather than taking over an existing account. This often happens when the genuine customer has moved from their previous address.
* Counterfeit fraud: this is the manufacture of a fake credit card using genuine card details. The card details are copied from the magnetic strip of the genuine card using a device called a skimmer. This information is then transferred to the magnetic strip on a fake credit card that can be used to purchase goods online or in countries where Chip & PIN has not yet been introduced.
* Malware fraud: short for "malicious software", malware refers to software programs that are distributed in the form of innocent-looking popups, emails or spam but are designed to damage, capture information or do other unwanted actions to your computer. Common examples include viruses, worms, trojan horses, adware and spyware.
Be sure that you're protected. I always lift and move the PIN machine when entering the PIN number for my credit card and debit cards. You never know if there is a spy cam above!