Australians alert but still at risk of online fraud, Visa survey reveals

Visa launches VisaSecuritySense website to help consumers improve online behaviour

SYDNEY, 16 AUGUST 2013 – Nearly one-third of Australians share their birthdate on social media sites according to a new survey by Visa, putting them at risk of fraud.

Visa Australia and New Zealand’s Director of Country Risk Management, Ian McKindley, warned today that Australians need to be more vigilant about online security.

“This is not a good security measure. Birthdates are regularly shared across social media and can easily be misused, if they fall into the hands of fraudsters,” Mr McKindley said.

The survey, “Consumer Attitudes to Online and Payment Card Security” (May 2013), conducted by UMR Research for Visa, shows that while most Australians don’t fall into obvious traps, improvements to their online behaviour can still be made.

“Most Australians do not store sensitive account details like PINs, account numbers and passwords on their portable devices and most avoid easily guessed passwords like their pet’s name or birthdate.

“However with the vast majority of Australians today owning a portable device and using social media, people must be aware of how to protect themselves against online fraud. The first line of defence is to be well informed,” Mr McKindley said.

Visa has launched a website aimed to help educate consumers and retailers about the different types of fraud that exist and how to avoid them. provides information and advice on the different kinds of fraud that exist, how to be alert to situations that might be fraudulent and how to prevent them, as well as other safety tips related to the daily use of cards.

Social networking can keep us connected to family and friends and help us stay in touch with news in real time. However, according to Mr McKindley, “Today’s cyber criminals can view social networking sites as rich and valuable sources of personal data. They use crafty schemes to loot your private information, and piece by piece they gather enough data to raid your identity and online accounts.”

There are a few simple steps to minimise risk on social networking sites:

• Get familiar with privacy and security settings. They can help you manage your information and sharing preferences.

• Don’t give away your birth date. The day, year and location of your birth can help a scammer unlock your financial identity. Also, beware of giving away answers to common security questions such as your mother’s maiden name, high school or hometown.

• I’m in the Gold Coast – make yourself at home. It’s better to post vacation photos after you return, rather than letting potential burglars know when your home is empty. And, think twice before publishing your home address on social networking sites.

• Don’t provide password clues. Your social network profile can give away password clues such as your pet’s name or favourite AFL team. Your passwords should be unique and difficult to guess. Most importantly, don’t use the same password for every site you visit.

• Don’t friend strangers. Be wary of friending people online you don’t know in real life, even if they seem to be connected to people in your network.
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Media contact:
Teneille Rennick

About Visa
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world’s most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 30,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit