The Crime Command's Fraud and Cyber Crime Group is warning shoppers and merchants to be vigilant during the upcoming festive season.
The Christmas shopping period in the past has been a prime time for transnational crime gangs to visit major shopping locations around Australia and target ATMs and stores.
"These criminals will fly into the country, travel around the major centres, attach skimmers to ATMs and EFTPOS terminals, and fly out with thousands of electronically stored compromised accounts - only to steal the money from those accounts in a coordinated manner from multiple global locations," Detective Superintendent Brian Hay said.
"We can never afford to be complacent. Christmas is certainly an expensive enough time for families and to lose money to a fraudster during this time is something I'm sure most families would like to avoid."
Ensure when using an ATM you look for any suspicious device attached to the card entry point of the machine and always cover your hand when entering your PIN.
Also be sure to examine your monthly statement for suspicious transactions, especially transactions which may appear for 1 or 2 dollars - this indicates your card has been compromised and the criminals are testing the account is still active. If you see this, contact your bank immediately.
Any suspicious people hanging around an ATM should be reported to police immediately.
Merchants should be wary of groups of two to four people seeking to buy multiple high end products and using multiple credit cards to pay for the goods.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours a day.
Online shopping safety
Government website Stay Smart Online offers the following tips for safe shopping over the internet.
- Only pay via a secure web page-one that has a valid digital certificate. It will also have a small padlock icon in the address bar or at the foot of the page.
- Use a secure payment method such as PayPal, BPay, or your credit card. Avoid money transfers and direct debit, as these can be open to abuse. Never send your bank or credit card details via email.
- Keep a copy of the transaction. Keep records of any emails to and from the seller.
- If buying through an auction site such as eBay, always conduct transactions within the auction website. Avoid private contact or payment directly with buyers or sellers-scammers will often use this ploy to 'offer a better deal' - which often turn out to be fraudulent.