Online credit fraud hits Coffs

ONLINE credit card fraud is digging an increasingly large hole in the Coffs Coast's collective pocket.

One Woolgoolga businessman has seen close to $12,000 deducted in two online attacks on two different credit cards in 10 months.

A Coffs Harbour farmer is currently in the process of dealing with his bank's fraud unit and the police after UK-based online gaming sites deducted $2500 in US dollars from his credit card.

Both men said when talking about their experiences they had heard many other stories of credit card fraud.

The Woolgoolga man said his bank, the National Australia Bank, had contacted him to tell him about the fraud, in which large sums of money were used to buy Dutch phone cards, which can easily be sold as a form of negotiable currency.

He said while he was not held responsible for the fraud, it nevertheless lowered the allowable limit on his credit card by the amount defrauded until the matter was resolved.

This created difficulties because he used the $25,000 limit on his credit card to buy books for his business and it could have been disastrous had he been overseas at the time.

He said more inconvenience was created because of the need to recall and cancel all of the payments which came out of the credit card account, including irregular ones like e-tolls.

No sooner had his new card been activated than he was hit again, but this time he picked up the online attack himself, thanks to an email thanking him for a purchase he had not made.

When he contacted the (reputable) supplier involved, he was told they had sent no email, nor did they have any record of such an order from him.

But money had vanished from his credit card account.

“It was a fraud on a fraud,” he said

The new attack also forced him to cancel his new credit card.

Now he plans to have two credit cards and keep one low-value card just for on-line purchases

The Coffs Harbour farmer said he discovered he had been defrauded when he checked his St George Bank account and his statement showed hundreds of dollars at a time disappearing into on-line poker websites, sums swelled by conversion fees to US dollars.

“I have always been very careful with my credit card,' he said.

The Australian Payments Association payment fraud data shows that card-not-present fraud increased in 2009, although other categories of credit card fraud decreased, with substantial improvement in categories of card loss like lost or stolen cards.

Although credit and charge card fraud decreased from 60.4 cents to 57.2 cents in every $1000 transacted in 2009, the incidence of fraud rose from 24 to 32 in every 100,000 transactions.

A National Australia Bank spokesman said last year the bank had upgraded its fraud detection system, Proactive Risk Manager, to both monitor and, in high risk situations, decline fraudulent card activity.

“This monitoring is conducted within seconds of a transaction, resulting in the card being blocked and the customer contacted immediately,” she said.

COFFS Harbour police are investigating a scam purporting to overhaul your computer to make it more efficient.

Sergeant Craig Enchelmaier said residents had reported providing their credit card details over the internet for the upgrade but no improvements had happened.

“Don't deal over the internet with this sort of thing. Only use a legitimate and authorised repairer,” Sgt Enchelmaier said.

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