Payments industry self-regulatory body Australia Payments Clearing Association (APCA), together with the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police, have launched a new education program to help businesses combat online card fraud.

The Get Smart About Card Fraud Online program has been designed to raise awareness among small to medium-sized merchants of the real risks of online card fraud and simple steps they can take to protect against it. It broadly focuses on how businesses should know who they’re dealing with online and protecting customers’ card details.

APCA’s fraud statistics for the 2011 calendar year showed that online card fraud is on the rise. In fact, ‘cards not present’ made up over 70 per cent of scheme credit, debit and charge card fraud that was perpetrated in Australia and overseas on Australia-issue cards, and fraud perpetrated in Australia on cards issued overseas.

APCA CEO Chris Hamilton said some new merchants to the online space don’t realise that just by taking a few simple measures they can reduce the risk of falling victim to online card fraud.

“Just as retailers carry out simple security checks when taking card payments face-to-face, certain checks need to be done when taking payments online. It’s also about recognising which transactions are particularly risky and dealing with them sensibly. If an order seems too good to be true, it probably is,” he said.

Get Smart about Card Fraud Online provides tips, information, advice and video case studies for small merchants doing business online. The web-based program has been designed specifically to allow time-poor business people to work through it at a pace that suits them.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), said Australia’s small online merchants can’t afford to ignore the increase in online card fraud and the financial risk it entails.

“What makes Get Smart About Card Fraud Online stand apart from other fraud prevention materials out there, is that it really gives Australian online retailers valuable knowledge on how criminals operate. I highly recommend the program to any merchant selling online,” he said.