17 Apr 2009

Travellers' credit cards cancelled to prevent fraud

6:14 pm on 17 April 2009

Banks in New Zealand are cancelling overseas travellers' credit cards when they return home to prevent fraud.

Thousands of customers are affected as fraudsters close in on new forms of security.

Theft of credit cards and banking information continues to grow at a record rate.

ASB Bank head of business ventures Peter Hall says New Zealand travellers are most at risk in America, because the country has not adopted chip technology.

Mr Hall says chip cards are more secure because information cannot be easily stolen from them in the way it can with cards that only have a magnetic strip.

Countries including Malaysia and Thailand are becoming more secure as they have adopted chip cards in recent years, he says.

Internet theft continues at record pace

Internet security company Symantec has identified 1.6 million new viruses for stealing computer users' private information, and 60% of those discovered in 2008 were created in that year.

Symantec senior manager Peter Sparks says the thieves who produce the viruses are becoming more prolific and their products more sophisticated.

The company's study on internet security threats found key-stroke logging - where thieves hack into computers and take information typed in by its user - remains the highest threat, accounting for 76% of incidents.

The report has found the underground market for information on stolen credit cards and financial details remains strong and criminals continue to target social networking sites to gain information about people.

Hackers use trusted sites to direct people to malicious or infected websites.

The company says 90% of the attacks are aimed at gaining details on credit cards, bank accounts and other financial information, and price hackers can get for this information has remained steady.