Caught out by credit card scams

A BALLINA man has been robbed from Canada while he slept, blissfully unaware of the theft half a world away.

The 63-year-old was a victim of a sophisticated scheme targeting credit cards, according to local police.

Since Monday, four cases of credit card or Internet fraud have been reported to Lismore and Ballina police, after victims opened their latest monthly credit card statement.

The Ballina victim was robbed remotely, with the perpetrator buying goods in Toronto, Canada.

It seems the man’s credit card details were ‘skimmed’ with a sophisticated electronic device right here in Australia.

His details were then sold overseas, where the buyer also used a fake card to withdraw $5000 in cash from a Canadian ATM.

Whether the victim’s card was skimmed in Ballina is not known, but Crime Prevention Officer Michael Hogan said police were aware of the practice taking place in the coastal town on at least one previous occasion.

In another scam, a 38-year-old Ballina man was charged $5000 on his credit card after its details were hijacked during an Internet transaction.

Snr Const Hogan said people who used the Internet for their shopping had to be careful, even suspicious.

“Use hard to guess passwords, not your mother’s last name or your birth date,” he advised.

“Use the latest firewall protection on your computer. It’s like having security screens on your front door – you still have to lock it.”

Another scam involves the numerous electronic trading houses, with buyers offering to pay higher amounts for purchases provided the seller goes ‘off-line’ to disclose personal details.

Snr Const Hogan was himself approached by a buyer for some personal items he was selling, with the person offering $1000 over the asking price provided the deal could circumvent the trading house’s commission by dealing direct.

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