Rebecca Goodman
By Rebecca Goodman
Financial Journalist
Published 25 March 2024
|Read time: 5 mins

How does credit card fraud work?

Credit card fraud happens when a criminal has access to another person’s credit card details and uses it without their permission, or applies for one under their name. This could be through using the card to buy things or to withdraw money from their account. They may have also stolen account numbers, your PIN, or other financial or personal information. 


Fraudsters may even contact the victim directly, pretending to be someone who works for a trusted company in order to obtain information such as their PIN, card number, passwords and other vital account details. They may even ask for One Time Passcodes (OTP) to authenticate online transactions.

The main types of credit card fraud

There are different types of credit card fraud. It's important to be aware of what it could look like. Credit card fraud could be the following:


A credit card being stolen and used without the holder of the card knowing.
Making an application for a credit card in another person’s name.
Obtaining and using details of a credit card including the account number or personal information of the owner such as their address and date of birth. The information is usually taken from online databases without the owner of the card knowing.
Phishing fraud whereby a criminal sends you a message, such as in an email or SMS, pretending to be someone from a genuine company. Fraudsters may even call a victim posing as someone who works for their bank or a police officer to obtain credit card information and security details.

Who is responsible for credit card fraud?

If you’re a victim of credit card fraud, you should be able to claim back any money you lose. This will cover payments that are made fraudulently, and your credit card provider should reimburse you.

This is subject to you not being involved in the fraud or signs of negligence.


What is considered negligence for credit card fraud?


It’s been 13 months or longer since the fraudulent activity occured.

Your credit card provider has documented proof that you authorised the transaction.

You acted fraudulently – like pretending a payment wasn’t you when actually you know it was.

You didn’t protect your card details, PIN or password – for example writing your PIN down on some paper that lives in your wallet with your card.



It’s key that you act as soon as you spot the fraud and that you are acting responsibly by keeping your card with you and your PIN and OTP private.


At John Lewis, for example, we offer zero liability protection which means you won’t be responsible for fraudulent transactions. You will need to report your card to us as lost or stolen straight away if you think it is being used by someone else.  


Credit card fraud can also impact your credit score, so if you see something which you think is incorrect, after you've spoken to your credit card provider, contact the credit reference agency. They should be able to remove fraudulent activity or transactions. 

How to avoid credit card fraud

Although card crime is on the rise, there are lots of things you can do to prevent it. 

Many credit card providers have systems in place to reduce credit card fraud. Here are some other ways to reduce the risk of being a victim of credit card fraud:


Check your financial accounts regularly for any purchases, withdrawals, or credit applications which weren’t made by you
Never share your personal details unless you’re confident the company you’re giving them to is genuine
Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and you download updates when they are issued
Keep your PIN private and shield it when using it to pay for something
Shred credit card statements or other documents with your financial details on
Don’t use any machines for your credit card if they look broken or like they have been tampered with
Keep your cards safe and put them away once you’ve used them. It only takes a few seconds for a fraudster to clone or steal one
Never click on links within emails or texts which look like they could be fraudulent
Check your credit report regularly, as this is where you may spot fraudulent activity such as applications for credit being taken out in your name
Don’t reply to email requests for personal or financial information. If you’re unsure if the message is genuine contact the company in question via its official website to check

Important Note

Most credit card companies will not ask their customers to share any security details about their credit cards. 


At John Lewis Finance, we’ll never ask our Partnership Credit Card* holders:


To tell us your PIN, One Time Passcode (OTP), password or other login details

To transfer money to another account

To make a payment via a link from a text

To give us access to your account or device remotely


*Credit subject to status. 18 years +. UK residents. T&Cs apply. John Lewis plc is a credit broker. NewDay ltd is the lender.

Can someone use my credit card without the card?

If a criminal has stolen your credit card details, they may use them to buy items or services online. That’s because you don’t always need the card to make a transaction. 


By keeping an eye on your accounts regularly, you should be able to spot any kind of transaction which has been made fraudulently. If you do see something that wasn’t authorised by you, contact your credit card provider straight away.

Freezing your Partnership Credit Card

If you suspect someone has access to your card details, you can freeze your card temporarily. This will stop new or incoming transactions to give you time to report fraudulent activity.

How to freeze your card

1. Log on to your account via the John Lewis Credit Card app

2. Tap ‘My Card’ on the bottom right-hand corner

3. Tap the toggle next to ‘Freeze Card'

4. To ‘unfreeze’ your card, just tap the toggle ‘Defrost Card’


Credit subject to status. 18 years +. UK residents. T&Cs apply. John Lewis plc is a credit broker. NewDay ltd is the lender. 

What to do if you’re a victim of credit card fraud

If you think you have been a victim of credit card fraud, you need to contact your credit card provider straight away, especially if you believe someone is using your card or PIN. (It’s also a good idea to change your password or PIN if you think you are a victim of credit card fraud.)


You can also report the fraud to the police through the Action Fraud website or by calling 0300 123 2040.


If you think someone posing as a John Lewis Finance Partner or an employee from NewDay ltd has attempted to contact you regarding your Partnership Credit Card’s security details, please contact us.



Discover our Partnership Credit Card

If you’re interested in applying for the Partnership Credit Card we’ll perform a soft search to check your eligibility. This means it won’t impact your credit score.

Credit subject to status. 18s and over. UK residents. T&Cs apply. John Lewis plc is a credit broker. NewDay ltd is the lender.

Content correct at time of writing 25/03/24.

John Lewis Finance is not responsible for content contained on external websites. This article is for promotional or information purposes only. You must not rely on it as advice. Please contact a financial adviser if you need advice before you apply for a financial product or service.

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John Lewis plc is a credit broker and not a lender, introducing the Partnership Credit Card under exclusive arrangements with the lender NewDay Ltd.
John Lewis Finance is a trading name of John Lewis plc, registered in England with company number 233462, registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 724309). Credit is provided by NewDay Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales with registered number 7297722, registered office: 7 Handyside Street, London, N1C 4DA. NewDay Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with number 690292 and is also authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (Ref no: 555318) for the provision of payment services.

Copyright © John Lewis Partnership
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