Australia's largest investment bank, Macquarie Bank, has called for further public debate on credit card security in the wake of a rise in bank-related fraud.
Speaking at a Bank Fraud Forum in Sydney, Bill Moss, head of Macquarie Bank's banking and property group commented: "Australia has enthusiastically embraced the range of services that allow us to pay our bills, do our banking and purchase services and products on the telephone or by logging onto the internet. Unfortunately, the downside of this technology is the increased opportunities it provides for fraud."
In the wake of the recent ATM scam in Syndey - in which a criminal gang looted customer accounts after copying cards inserted into bank machines - Moss called on consumers to do more to protect themselves while conducting electronic transactions
"While the banks need to work harder to increase security and technology, consumers need to take a more 'low-tech' approach to protecting themselves," he said. "Simple measures like picking your credit card up from the bank in person, covering the keypad when you put in your PIN number, not writing your PIN number down near your card - these are all simple measures that consumers can take to protect themselves."
In a statement that is certain to anger victims of the fraud, he argued that the scam may have been prevented "if the ATM users had been more vigilant about covering their PIN number when carrying out their transaction".
Moss used the forum to launch a "Plain English Dos & Don'ts Guide for Credit Cards" which has been developed in collaboration with the New South Wales Fraud Squad.
Commander of the Fraud Squad, NSW Police, Detective Superintendent Megan McGowan says consumers have been victims of elaborate scams in recent months involving the theft of credit and debit card details.
"Criminals are opportunistic and fraud is a growth area. Criminals are certainly developing a great interest in credit card fraud and are taking it to new levels, as we have seen in recent weeks."
Speaking at the same conference, Visa's top fraud specialist Ian McKindley said fraudsters were targetting Australian shores as other countries tightened up security measures. Calling on the banks to invest in a national chip conversion programme, McKindley said that the total cost of changes to terminals and the issue of cards could be as high as $1 billion.
A KPMG survey of 361 businesses across Australia, released earlier this year, found more than 22,000 cases of credit card fraud involving the use of stolen or fake credit card numbers.
It's believed more than 10 million Australians own credit cards and credit card skimming has increased 300 per cent across Australia during the past 18 months.
Visa's McKindley noted that debit and credit cards were more likely to be copied at petrol stations.
"Our analysis shows that 75 per cent of all cards skimmed are at petrol stations and they are in Sydney," he said.