Beware card fraud, Rio 2016 travellers warned

olympics logo in the middle of which is Christ the Redeemer picture

Over half a million people are expected to descend upon the streets of Rio this August to catch a glimpse of the likes of Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill and others have a shot at Olympic glory. But payment experts are warning people to be alert to risk of card fraud.

Recent research from ACI Worldwide and the Aite Group suggests that card fraud in Brazil is particularly rife as half the country’s consumers (49%) have experienced some kind of card fraud in the last year. Only Mexico beat Brazil with a staggering 56% rate of card fraud. The US is in third place with 47%.

What is very concerning, however, is the fact that only two years ago just 30% of Brazilian consumers said they were victims of card fraud. A 19% jump shows that card fraud is not only a persisting issue, but an exacerbating one.

table of countries with highest rates of fraud including mexico, united states, brazil

The research showed that consumers are not doing enough to make it hard for fraudsters to gain access to sensitive data. Over half (54%) of consumers have exhibited at least one form of risky behaviour such as keeping their PIN with the card, marking a 4% increase from 2014.

Jay Floyd, Head of Fraud Strategy EMEA, ACI Worldwide said:

“With fraud rates in Brazil continuing to soar, it is important that visitors to the Rio Games do everything they can to protect themselves. Our research shows that the careless behaviour of many consumers contributes to the perpetration of fraud.

Although many banks have invested in robust technology to quickly identify card fraud and will reimburse costumers in case of fraud, it is better to avoid becoming a victim and having your holidays spoiled by fraudsters in the first place.”


In order to stay card safe during the Olympics, ACI has published some tips. These include looking for shops that accept Chip-and-Pin payments, thus eliminating the risk of magnetic stripe fraud, or when in doubt, just pay in cash.

Other suggestions include keeping smartphones and other digital devices under passcode protection at all times and not keeping your PIN written down somewhere near your card (see stat above!).

Finally, travellers should be sure to notify their bank of the planned journey and write down all the relevant numbers if they need to contact it in emergencies.

Related reading