Consumers warned to be careful as card theft soarsWhich? gives advice on how you can protect yourself

07 June 2013

Cashpoint surfing

Incidents of criminals stealing bank cards and chip-and-pin codes while people withdraw cash have tripled over the past year.

A report by Financial Fraud Action UK has revealed that 7,525 incidents were reported in the first four months of this year, compared with 2,553 over a similar timeframe last year.

The police suggest that this could be because of a rise in incidents of ‘surfing’ - looking over your shoulder while you enter your Pin, and then swiping the card while you're distracted.

If your card has been lost or stolen and used to purchase goods, read our guide on what your course of action should be.

Protect yourself against fraud

Always make sure you cover your Pin when using cash machines or chip-and-pin machines. This will protect you from 'surfing' fraudsters who then steal your card. 

If you believe you've accidentally given a fraudster your card details, cancel your card immediately and report the incident to your bank.

Unfortunately, a bank can refuse to reimburse you if it can demonstrate that you were acting negligently, but it's up to the bank to prove that this is the case.

For instance, if your card provider thinks you're responsible for the transaction on your card, or that you've authorised someone else to buy the item using your card then it needs to prove this. 

Get your money back

If your card provider disputes that the transaction was unauthorised, you should make an official complaint to your provider and ask for it to be escalated through your card provider's internal complaints procedure. 

If your provider still refuses to accept you've been the victim of fraud and won't give you back your money, you can ask for a letter of deadlock in order to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

More on this...

- Follow our tips to protect your bank account against fraud
- Use the Which? template letter to ask for a refund if your card is stolen
- Get the answers to your everyday problems on our Consumer Rights website