By Aimee Chanthadavong

Payments industry self-regulatory body Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) has announced an education program for retailers in a fight against card fraud.

The Safeguard Against Skimming program was designed and developed by APCA with support from the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the NSW Police.

It provides retailers with information on how card skimming occurs and how they can detect and prevent this criminal activity on their premises.

 APCA CEO Chris Hamilton told RetailBiz that while Australia has been lucky in the past, in comparison to the rest of world in the level of card skimming and fraud, this program is still a necessary step to prevent future crimes.

“The reason for this campaign is because retailers are in the front line on what goes on. We need to have the most secure system but there’s no substitute for how retailers can take steps to preventing fraud in their own stores. This program will also help them become part of a web of protection,” he said.

“There are just some simple practices that retailers can do in their own shop and that fits in what with is being done broadly.”

The program comprises two education videos, an information brochure and other related training materials for retailers. Financial institutions and other POS service providers who choose to participate in the program will progressively roll-out the program as required.

According to Hamilton, technology has played a prominent roll in the way technology has assisted in preventing fraud, but has also helped fraudsters in finding other methods of card skimming.

“Technology is very much a two-edge saw. Technology makes it much efficient and much faster for retailers and it’s an accepted form of payment. On the other side of the saw, it also gives fraudsters the opportunity of being more sophisticated,” he said.

Based on statistics founded by APCA, in the calendar year of 2008, there were five million cases of debit card fraud and by 2010 that number increased to almost 20 million.

“But that’s still relatively small compared to global standards and the more recent data is indicating that number is going back down,” Hamilton said.