5 Ways to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

As technology progresses, credit card fraud has become a real danger in today’s online-based society. Imagine one morning waking up to charges you didn’t make and hefty overdraft fees. While there’s no guarantee you’ll never be a victim, here are 5 ways you can try and prevent credit card fraud.

#1: Secure Your Computer Systems

Cyber criminals can steal your financial details by hacking into your computer or phone. If you do your banking online (like most people these days), it’s vital to stay digitally protected against spyware and viruses. Hackers can infiltrate your computer through web browsers, emails, or infected files, potentially compromising your personal data.

It’s a good idea to install anti-virus software to safeguard your digital devices. Be sure to avoid clicking on links in spam or scam emails and try not to visit or do your online shopping on websites with questionable security.

#2: Look for Security Certificates

Checking the padlock icon in the internet bar is the simplest way to know if you’re accessing a protected site. Also make sure that the web address in the address bar starts with ‘https’ to confirm you are indeed on a secure web page.

Transport Layer Security (TLS), and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) are features of a website used for sensitive information encryption, providing data integrity and privacy between a web browser and a server over a computer network. Upon installation, security certificates activate the https protocol and padlock, which enable secure connections between browsers and web servers.

#3: Beware Identity Theft

Your identity is one of the most valuable assets you possess. It’s important to ensure no one uses your personal information, such as your name, social security number, or credit card number.

To protect your identity, destroy any documents that may contain personal details such as your birthday, address, and tax file number. Sensitive documents include bank correspondence (bank account or credit card statements) and any documents or letters from the government.

Opportunists can also access your letterbox. Secure your mailbox with a lock or use a PO Box. If you’re going away for a long time, make sure to either have a trusted person collect your mail for you or put a hold on it.

#4: Be Careful at ATMS

Criminals are known to hang around ATMs looking to steal credit card details and security pins. To protect yourself, always cover the ATM keypad and look around if someone’s lurking when you enter your PIN.

There’s also skimming to worry about. This is done with a card skimmer, a small electronic device that can be fitted to ATMS or handheld to intercept data and steal pin and credit card numbers. Minimise your risk of skimming by inspecting the ATM card reader to see if it’s been tampered with.

#5: Stay Informed of Scams

Most people would never think they’d fall victim to a fraud or scam. However, this mindset is what the scammers target. Thousands of scams happen every day but keeping up to date with the latest fraud or scams will help you avoid becoming a casualty.

It’s important to always be vigilant. Look out for suspicious emails asking you for personal details or requesting you to click on a link or open an attachment. You should also review your credit card statements monthly to check for any bizarre details. If you think you’ve been scammed, inform your financial institution at once and report it to both the authorities and the ACCC (via Scamwatch).

If you liked this article, learn more about Credit Cards for Beginners.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.


Ordered by the Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has found that Cigno Australia Pty Ltd (Cigno Australia) and BSF Solutions Pty Ltd (BSF Solutions) have breached the law by engaging in unlicensed credit activity and charging prohibited fees.

In the period from July 2022 to 3 October 2023, over 100,000 consumers have been lent a total of $34 million, and charged fees of over $70 million, under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’ operated by BSF Solutions and Cigno Australia. At no time has either BSF Solutions or Cigno Australia held an Australian Credit Licence.

The Court also found that Mark Swanepoel (director of Cigno Australia) and Brenton James Harrison (director of BSF Solutions) were involved in these breaches of the law.

With effect from 24 May 2024, the Court has granted permanent injunctions preventing Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions from:

  • demanding, receiving or accepting fees or charges, including amounts of loan principal, from consumers in relation to credit provided under the ‘No Upfront Charge Model’; and
  • engaging in further credit activity pursuant to the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’, including by entering into new agreements with consumers, for so long as they do not hold an Australian Credit Licence.

Cigno Australia was ordered by the Court to, by 5th July 2024, send written communications to consumers who between July 2022 and December 2022 entered into agreements with Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’.

The Court will later determine whether (among other things) Cigno Australia and Mark Swanepoel ought to pay a pecuniary penalty in respect of this conduct, and whether Mark Swanepoel should be restrained from carrying on a business engaging in credit activity.

Cigno Australia, BSF Solutions, Mr Swanepoel and Mr Harrison intend to appeal the decision of the Court and have filed an application for leave to appeal. If the appeal is successful, some or all of the orders of the Federal Court of Australia may be set aside.

Where can you get more information?

Where to go for further support

You can access legal advice in your state at: Free legal advice – Moneysmart.gov.au.

If you are experiencing trouble with debt, or money worries in general, contact:

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or online chat (9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday).

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours) or their crisis support online chat or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) or their webchat