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Cash and credit cards

Paying for shopping with a credit or debit card is a regular occurrence for most of us, but that doesn’t mean we can afford to become complacent.

Unfortunately card fraud is a growing problem so we need to protect ourselves from it.

To help, we’ve put together brief descriptions of the types of card fraud and advice on how to keep your cash and cards safe.

Types of card fraud

Lost or stolen card fraud

A card is either stolen or lost and used by criminals posing as you.


Data stored on a card’s magnetic strip is electronically copied on to another card and used to create a counterfeit card.

Card not present fraud

Criminals obtain your card details either from a discarded receipt or by copying down your details during a transaction.

Mail card fraud

Your card is stolen between it being sent by your bank and reaching you.

Identity theft

Criminals use fraudulently obtained information to open or access accounts in your name.

Keeping your cash and cards safe

  • Withdrawing cash from an ATM and carrying debit and credit cards in purses and wallets is part of everyday life for most.
  • But, like the rest of your personal belongings, it's important to take steps to protect them.
  • Follow our tips to help keep your money safe, in your bag and the bank:
  • Keep your PIN number private and make sure no one sees you enter it on the keypad of the ATM.
  • Keep a look out for anything suspicious, particularly hand written or unofficial notices stuck to machines. If you think something isn’t quite right with a machine don’t use it.
  • Don’t carelessly discard receipts or leave them hanging out of the machineman withdrawing money from a cashpoint.
  • Check your receipts against your statements carefully. If you find an unfamiliar transaction contact your card issuer immediately.
  • Memorise your PIN. Don’t write it down or disclose it to anyone even if they claim to be from your card issuer or the police.
  • If your card is lost or stolen, report it to your issuer immediately. You can find the 24-hour emergency number on your last statement or by calling directory enquiries.
  • Sign new cards as soon as they arrive and make sure you cut up old cards as soon as the replacement ones become valid.
  • If you have a cheque book, keep it separate from your card.
  • Try not to carry too much cash but if you have to, keep your purse or wallet close to your body.
  • Don’t leave cards or cash unattended in bags or jacket pockets.
  • If you take credit cards on holiday, don’t leave them unattended in your hotel room, on the beach or by the pool. Most hotels have safes available so ask at reception.
  • Think about registering with a card protection scheme, particularly if you have several cards

Reporting card fraud

Fraud is a crime so if you think you’ve experienced it we would encourage you to contact us and your account holder as soon as you can.

You can also report fraud to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud reporting centre run by the National Fraud Authority.

You can either report fraud using their online system which is available 24-hours a day or speak to an advisor by calling the reporting line on 0300 123 2040.

You'll also find practical advice on preventing fraud on the Action Fraud and Card Watch websites.

For more information download Home Office leaflet Keep your cards safe.

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