As long as credit cards have been around, an opportunity for fraud has followed.

But the introduction of online purchasing has seen a rise in not only the opportunity for fraudulent activity, but a new level of scamming technique too.

Jose George, general manager for Canstar, a New Zealand and Australian online research service, said we are exposing ourselves to more risk as our propensity to transact online increases.

"Obviously as our propensity to transact online increases, we are exposing ourselves to more risk, but there are things we can do to minimise that danger," George said.


Figures released by New Zealand online safety organisation Netsafe today in their April-June quarterly report support the rising trend of online fraud attempts.

Netsafe received 2,824 online scam and fraud reports in the last quarter, up 17.3 per cent on the January-March quarter.

Of the 2,824 reports received by Netsafe, 366 of those were monetary losses, totalling $6.1 million.

Between January and June 2018, total reported monetary losses have already surpassed last year's total ($10.1m) by $8.5m.

Despite advances in technology and fraud protection, scammers are continually upping their game by producing more and more sophisticated scams.

"Technology is advancing everyday but fraudsters and scam artists are working hard to keep up with the progress," George said.

"At the end of the day, the best protection is to be vigilant with how and when you use your credit card and, regularly check your statements. Any activity you don't recognise, report it immediately."

Here are Canstar's five common credit card frauds and how you can minimise the danger:


1. Online purchases

While saving your credit card details on frequently used websites and apps makes it easier and quicker to manage purchases and recurring payments, sharing your details in this way is not without risk from hackers.

How to minimise the risk: Take one to two minutes to re-input your card details when making an online purchase. While inconvenient, it could save you a lot of money.

2. Social engineering

This is a term given to the practice of fraudsters gaining access to assets or data by manipulating their victims. Well-known techniques include scammers sending emails or calling by phone posing as your bank or a service provider, citing suspicious activity on your account or some kind of problem.

How to minimise the risk: Don't get drawn in and never give out your personal details. Remember, banks and service providers don't ring out of the blue asking for your details, and your accounts won't be terminated in "24 hours" if you don't give them what they want.

3. Ghost terminals

These are fake payment terminals that are not connected to payment networks. Typically their purpose is to skim, or copy, the details that are held on the magnetic strip of your credit card.

How to minimise the risk: Always be aware of where you are using your card, especially if you are somewhere unfamiliar and frequently check your statements and payment history.

4. Fake wi-fi networks

Common in tourist hotspots, unsuspecting users can have all of their information they input cloned and stolen.

How to minimise the risk: Whether you're at home or overseas, never access a free wi-fi network that is not password protected.

5. Video game fraud

Online gaming can be a hotbed for credit card fraud through activity known as account takeovers. An account takeover is where a scammer gets a hold of a player's user ID and password, often using malware, a program specifically designed to covertly gain access to a computer or network. The scammers then uses those details to make in-app purchases, or worse, use credit card details to make unauthorised purchases outside of the game.

How to minimise the risk: If you've made in-app purchases of any kind, check your statements to make sure the purchase you've made belong to you.

People in New Zealand who are experiencing an online issue can contact Netsafe for free information and advice by calling 0508 NETSAFE or visiting Netsafe's helpline is open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5pm weekends and public holidays.