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Card fraud is on the rise

Does anyone other than you have access to your PIN number? Does anyone else know your bank account details? And can you be certain no one has access to your card?

The fact is, card fraud is at its highest rate since 2008, and while the risk of falling victim to it is still low, it pays to be aware.

Increasing losses

Recent research from The UK Cards Association and Financial Fraud Action UK  reveals that card fraud rose in 2013. And while banks and large businesses have installed fraud prevention systems that have helped improve safety, it’s individuals who appear to increasingly be the targets. Indeed, the research shows that deception crimes continue to be a worry.

Total card fraud losses amounted to £450.4 million last year, which is a 16% increase on the losses recorded in 2012. Meanwhile, spending on cards also increased over the year; suggesting more of us are happy to rely on plastic when we shop.

Beware the scammers

Unfortunately, there are scammers out there, and they appear to be taking advantage of the growing number of people using their cards to make purchases. The report highlights that in addition to cards being stolen through distraction techniques and PINs being nicked at ATMs, fraudsters are also tricking people out of their hard-earned money by calling them on the phone.

Known as ‘vishing’, the scam involves posing as someone from the customer’s financial services provider (or as another person in a position of trust) and convincing the victim to reveal their personal or financial information. In fact, this crime is behind the 14% growth in card ID theft, according to the report.

Another trick is courier fraud. In this case, a victim is contacted by the fraudster and told they have been a victim of identity theft. By posing as someone in a position of trust, the fraudster manages to obtain the victim’s passwords and personal information. The caller then says they will send someone round to the victim’s house to collect their cards. Once they’ve done this, the perpetrator has the victim’s card and all the information they need to use it.

Stay safe

In light of these figures, financial service providers are urging people to be careful. You wouldn’t wave a wad of cash around, and you shouldn’t do this with your card either. If using your card in a shop, bar or café, make sure it’s never out of your sight and that you put it away securely as soon as you've used it. And if you’re using a cash machine, make sure you shield your PIN. It sounds obvious, but if you look away for even a moment a fraudster could take advantage of the slip-up.

The findings are also a chance for us to remind you of what thinkmoney will and won’t do:

  • We won’t ask for your card’s PIN number. EVER!
  • We won’t ask you to withdraw cash to give to us, or to transfer your money to another account.
  • We won’t ever come to your home to collect your thinkmoney Prepaid Debit MasterCard, your documents or your cash.
  • We won’t ask you to buy anything and then give it to us ‘for safekeeping’.


  • We will send you your PIN by text if you forget it. Existing customers can register for our unique service and if they do then forget their PIN, they can text their password to 07786 208263 to receive a text containing their PIN. Make sure you delete the sent message containing your password and the received message containing your PIN from your phone.
  • We will send you a code straight to your mobile to collect up to £200 a day from a local PayPoint site if you request this.
  • We will unblock your PIN if you block it. Watch this video to find out how.

There are also steps you can take to keep your money safe:

  • Never let anyone else use your card.
  • Never share your account information, your PIN or your passwords with anyone.
  • Always check your statements and if you notice something unusual, give us a call.
  • If your card is lost or stolen, let us know straightaway.

Card fraud might be rising, but by being vigilant, you don’t have to fall victim to it.

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