So what are the risks, and what can we do about them?
Alarming fraud levels
The survey, by ACI Worldwide, uncovered an alarming level of fraud in the UK. Some 14.6 million of us have been a victim in the past five years, which is a massive increase on the 27% of customers who said they had been victims as little as 18 months ago.
On an international scale, only China has a higher level of card fraud, where 43% have been victims. We are at far more risk than places like France, where 19% have been victims and Germany where the number is 14%.
It's worth pointing out that official figures are lower than this, and actually show a fall in card fraud in the UK. However, it's worth understanding where our vulnerabilities lie.
The problems can arise in a number of ways. Some we have no control over, such as a rogue employee at the reliable retailer who takes the card details for their own ends, or the postal delivery worker who slips an undelivered card into their pocket.
- Dodgy internet sites may be designed to take your credit card details, so it's worth only using sites we know and trust.
- Scam emails, phone calls and letters will ask us to give out card details on the excuse, for example, that they need to verify them, or process a refund. The only protection is never to believe anyone who gets in touch demanding your details.
- Your post may be vulnerable at home when you have a new card delivered, especially if you have a shared front door, so in those instances it's worth having the card delivered to the bank.
- It's always worth thinking twice before giving your card details out, whether to a retailer or to anyone else. Do you know this person, do you trust them? And if not, err on the side of caution.