Australian Government Warns About Business Credit Card Fraud

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Business credit card fraud involves the use of plastic card details to make purchases or withdraw cash without the business owner’s permission. The Australian Crime Commission estimates that serious organised crime costs Australia between $10-15 billion every year. In 2008, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported from their survey of fraud 499,500 victims of identity fraud in the preceding year, the majorities (77 per cent) were a victim of credit or bank card fraud.

In 2009, information was the most commonly sold item in the underground economy. Criminals may couple this information with details harvested from social networking sites to commit frauds.

Criminals may hack into databases of account numbers, which are held by Internet service providers or other businesses with customer information, or by intercepting account details, which travel in an unencrypted form. People engaged in card fraud may also be linked with numerous other organised crimes.

The Australian Bankers Association also warned merchants over credit card fraud. Recent data revealed business credit card fraud was increasing. Steven Munchenberg, chief executive of Australians Banker’s Association, says criminals are constantly seeking new opportunities to defraud, and the rise of online retail provides the perfect platform.

Mr. Munchenberg says the focus is not just domestic, because a lot of the fraudulent transactions are being done offshore via the Internet. Figures from the Reserve Bank indicated that Australians, of which the majorities are business credit card holders, make more than 152 million card transactions on a monthly basis.

The Australian government warns small-business owners to be aware of fraud. In 2011 to 2012, more than 1 million fraudulent transactions were reported. Scammers are known to disguise themselves as government agencies (Australian Taxation Office) and send emails requesting confirmation of details. The Australian Taxation Office will not send an email requesting you to confirm card details. Business owners can receive a legitimate-looking e-mail or invoice with payment details. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warned small businesses about government scams.

The ATO recommends you make sure you keep your business’s tax file number and passwords secure. The Australian Crime Commission estimates that serious organised crime costs Australia between $10-15 billion every year. New data revealed business credit card fraud was increasing.