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Credit Card Fraud

Recognize it

What is credit card fraud? credit card with lock

Credit card fraud can happen several ways. Your card could be lost or stolen and used to purchase goods and services. A criminal could obtain your card data and use this information to manufacture a counterfeit card, or the data could be used to make telephone or Internet purchases (also referred to as “card not present” fraud) .

Report it

  • Step 1 - If you have charges on your credit card that you didn’t make, or if you think you may have revealed your credit card number when you shouldn’t have, contact your credit card issuer right away using the phone number on the back of your card. The card issuer will take the appropriate steps to protect you from fraud.
  • Step 2 - Contact your credit bureau and have fraud alerts placed on your credit reports:
  • Step 3 - Contact your local police
  • Step 4 - Always report credit card fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by visiting their website or calling 1-888-495-8501.

Stop it

Report a lost or stolen card as soon as you notice it’s gone. Your card issuer will cancel your card and issue you a new one.

  • Make it a habit to regularly check your transactions online or on your monthly statement. If you notice charges that you didn’t make, report them to your card issuer right away.
  • Never give out your card number over the phone or Internet unless you know you are dealing with a reputable company.
  • Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN): don't share it with anyone or write it down – memorize it.
  • Sometimes scammers will try to trick people into revealing information about their credit cards either over the phone or through e-mail. It’s important to know that your credit card company or bank would never call to ask for personal information such as your credit card number, expiry number, PIN, or the security number on the back of your card.
  • Protect your credit cards like you protect your cash. Never leave them unattended in your car or at work.
  • Always check your card when it’s returned to you after a purchase. Make sure the card is yours.
  • When traveling, carry your cards with you or make sure they are in a secure location such as a hotel safe.
  • Sign the back of a new card as soon you get it.
  • Make a list of all your cards and their numbers and keep the list in a secure place. This key information is helpful when reporting lost or stolen cards.
  • Beware of all e-mail messages claiming to be from your financial institution. Canadian financial institutions do not send e-mails to their customers asking them to provide account information. In many reported cases of fraud, individuals will receive e-mail from what appears to be their bank asking them to click on a link included in the message. If you click on the link, you are brought to a fraudulent web site that looks just like your bank’s website. This practice is known as phising. When you enter personal information such as your credit card number and expiry date on a phishing site, it’s sent directly to the perpetrators of the fraud. For more information on phishing, visit our web page.


By the end of 2009, approximately 69.7 million credit cards were in circulation across the country. Of those, 541,580 accounts were compromised, which represent a small percentage (0.77%).

Counterfeiters use the latest computer devices to read and copy data encoded on a credit card’s magnetic stripe, eventually transferring the data to a counterfeit or blank (white) card.

The enhanced security of chip and pin technology has forced fraudsters to change their methods of operations. This could explain the recent increase in “card not present fraud” (CNP), which refers to e-commerce and other methods of payment where the presence of a credit card is not necessary for completion of a transaction (e.g. Internet, telephone and mail order).

Credit Card Fraud Statistics - Amex, MasterCard and Visa

For the Year Ending December 2009 - 2010
Category Loss in $CAD in 2009 Loss in $CAD in 2010 % Change

$ 13,599,382

$ 12,957,262


Stolen $ 27,208,823

$ 22,823,193

Non Receipt

$ 6,088,948

$ 5,635,525

Fraudulent Applications $ 4,707,088 $4,262,498 -9.45%

$ 158,809,947



(CNP) Fraudulent e-commerce, telephone and mail purchases $ 140,443,893 $176,115,080 25.40%
Account takeovers / Other $ 7,503,210 $8,198,153 9.26%
Total $ 358,361,292 $365,916,944 2.05%