Online shopping drives fraud penetration up: APCA

The Australian Payments Clearing Association has blamed the increase in online shopping for the rise in the total rate of fraud on Australian cards and cheques.

The total rate of fraud on Australian cards and cheques continues to increase, according to interim data released by the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA).

The data for the 12 months to June 2014 showed that the total rate of fraud on Australian cards and cheques increased from 16.1 cents to 18.7 cents per AU$1,000 spent, meaning that fraud impacts 0.000187 percent of all dollars spent.

At the same time, the APCA figures show that card-not-present fraud on Australian cards increased from AU$199.2 million to AU$256.1 million, with 66 percent of this kind of fraud occurring overseas.

The APCA said the rise in card-not-present fraud reflects the growth in online spending by Australians. In the four years to December 2013, online purchases increased by an estimated 140 percent, compared to a 67 percent increase in card-not-present fraud over the same period.

The interim data showed that counterfeit and skimming fraud also increased from AU$37.9 million to AU$42 million. Despite this, it was well down from its peak of AU$66 million in 2011. According to APCA, the rise was largely due to ATM skimming attacks over the period.

Meanwhile, lost and stolen fraud on Australian cards increased from AU$30.5 million to AU$33.1 million. This compromised of a 1.5 percent drop to AU$20.5 million in the fraud occurring in Australia, but a 30.2 percent increase to AU$12.5 million in fraud occurring overseas.

APCA CEO Chris Hamilton said the results are a warning for consumers to keep their cards and PINs safe.

"We all know that the economy is going digital, and this year, even more people will be doing their Christmas shopping online. Along with the convenience of online global shopping comes a greater need to be aware of scams and to know who you are dealing with," he said.

In a separate announcement, the Australian government has launched an online learning module to provide businesses operating in overseas markets advice on Australia's anti-bribery policy, the relevant laws and how they apply, and steps that businesses can take to help promote compliance.

"The Australian government has a zero tolerance approach to foreign bribery and corruption," warned Minister for Justice Michael Keenan.

"This type of criminal offence poses a significant risk to Australian businesses operating in overseas markets. There are serious criminal implications for individuals and corporations, both under Australian and foreign laws. Business needs to be aware of the risks and take action to minimise them."