Trust & Safety

Trade Me's blog on Trust and Safety issues.

Tips for keeping your credit card details safe from scammers



Credit -card -image

It’s a sad reality that opportunist credit card fraud happens daily because people find lost wallets in taxis, on abandoned tables in bars or at the beach, and quickly take advantage.

Losing your credit card

If you realise your wallet has vanished, the sooner you contact your issuing bank the better. They can apply a block to your card to prevent its use.

This not only protects you but also the bank and even unsuspecting merchants who part with goods purchased by opportunist fraudsters.

Remember, a transaction involves not only you but numerous in-between parties who also need to be protected.

Seasoned fraudsters

Of more concern than opportunist thieves, are the more ‘seasoned’ fraudsters who have methods for obtaining your credit card details.

There are many ways of obtaining your precious digits and the crooks know them all.

A great way to keep safe from this kind of thief is to ensure that you keep your card in your possession at the point of sale.

This means you don’t allow a salesperson, bar or restaurant workers, or a tradesman to get your card details.

In the world of smartphones with cameras, a fraudster only needs to have your card for a matter of seconds in order to photograph both sides capturing your full card number, expiry, cvv/ccv number, name and signature.

Keeping your card close eliminates this risk.


Skimming is another method used by fraudsters to collect and collate a large volume of card numbers for distribution in the ‘underworld’.

This trick involves a piece of hardware that is either hidden on the body or disguised and attached to a bank ATM or a point-of-sale terminal.

A skimmer will effectively swipe the data encoded on your card’s data strip, taking information about the card and account and filing it in a database to be used at a later date by the fraudster.

It’s important again to keep an eye on your card when it’s not in your possession and when using an ATM keep an eye out for any loose or mismatched slots or keypads as these could have been placed by a fraudster to intercept your details.

Protecting your details

Another way to protect your details is to minimise scenarios where you would verbally deliver your number to a business over the phone.

Most businesses these days have modern websites that will often offer an ‘online checkout’ or payment service.

All businesses operating these payment facilities must adhere to strict security standards stipulated by Visa, MasterCard and other international regulatory organisations.

This means that your details should never be insecurely stored and visible in their full form by individuals employed at that business.

With this in mind it makes much more security sense to enter your card details online yourself when paying your bills or simply ordering a pizza, rather than having your number scribbled on a notepad by a staff member at the other end of the phone.

How often do they repeat your number back to you providing anybody within earshot with a free credit card number ready to use?

Trade Me’s approach

In the context of Trade Me, we strongly recommend members look for sellers who offer Pay Now as a payment facility.

Pay Now transactions are monitored 24/7 all year round by our policing staff who are trained to spot high risk transactions.

On some occasions we will get in touch with members to ensure they are aware of the transaction on their card.

You would be surprised how often we wake cardholders up on Sunday morning to warn them that a transaction for an iPhone just occurred on their credit card across town.

As the fog of sleep lifts, it slowly dawns on them that their wallet isn’t in their jacket pocket but was in fact left on that park bench where they enjoyed a steak and cheese pie at 4.30am*.

If we do call you to verify a credit card payment, please understand that we are looking out for you or the cardholder whose card you have used.

*A true story.