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    Better Business Bureau of Southern Alberta

    Credit Card Fraud

    Reported credit card fraud in Canada declined somewhat for the twelve month period ending June 30th, 2000 to $203 million dollars - down from $227 million dollars the previous year.
    The latest computer devices, such as embossers, encoders and decoders often supported by computers are now used to read, modify and implant magnetic strip information on counterfeit credit cards.
    The criminal use of credit cards can be divided into the following categories:
    • Counterfeit credit card use: This category represents 53% of all dollar losses with Canadian issued cards. Organized criminals have acquired the technology that allows them to skim data contained on magnetic strips, manufacture phony cards, and overcome such protective features as holograms.
    • Lost or stolen credit cards: This category has actually declined in recent years, but it still represents 22% of all credit card fraud losses. Cards are typically stolen from the workplace, vehicles, personal belongings.
    • Charges on credit card without the actual use of the card: No card fraud accounts for 10% of all losses. Fraudulent web sites and telemarketers obtain specific card details from their victims, while promoting goods and services that are nonexistent.
    • Fraud Committed on Cards Prior To Getting To The Cardholder (mail theft): This type of theft accounts for 8% of all losses, but losses through this method have declined due to "card activation" programs. In a card activation program, cardholders must call their financial institution to confirm their identity before the card is activated.
    • Cards Obtained By Criminals Who Have Made False Applications: This is the criminal impersonation of creditworthy persons in order to acquire credit cards. This area only accounts for 5% of losses but is increasing.

    Dollar Loss

    Number of Accounts

    Counterfeit Cards



    Stolen Cards



    Fraudulent Use of Cards
    (# of Cards)



    Lost Cards



    No Receipt Of Card
    (Mail theft of Card)



    Miscellaneous (Not Defined)



    Fraudulent Applications



    • Keep your cards in a safe place; do not lend them to anyone
    • When selecting a PIN, always avoid the obvious - your name, phone number, date of birth and address
    • Don't write your PIN down - memorize it. Never disclose your PIN to anyone. A financial institution, police service, or business should never ask you for your PIN.
    • Avoid withdrawing cash if at all possible through credit cards at ABM's. If you withdraw during business hours on the credit card, you can do so in person at most financial institutions
    • To ensure privacy, shield your PIN to prevent others from seeing you enter the numbers
    • After completing a transaction, always remember to take your card and your transaction record
    • After making a withdrawal from an ABM, count the cash received and put it away immediately
    • If your card is lost, stolen, or is retained by an ABM, notify your financial institution immediately. Most institutions offer 1-800 telephone numbers and/or 24-hour service for lost or stolen cards.
    • If you happen to be victim of a robbery at an ABM - safety comes first. Cooperate with the robber, then inform police.

    Date of Story: Monday, August 13, 2001
    Story Posted By: Ron Reinhold
    Source: Ron Reinhold

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