By now most people will have seen the picture, reported to have been taken in Russia of an unidentified individual carrying a conactless Point Of Sale reader, purportedly in an attempt to retrieve money from unsuspecting victims due to conactless technology not requiring a PIN verification on transactions under £30.
The UK Cards Association, the trade body for card payments, has confirmed there have been no reported incidents of this crime in the country. Although this does not mean it cannot happen Giles Mason, Media Relations Manager for the UK Cards Association, said to techradar, “In order to be able receive any money from a card payment, a retailer account must be set up with an acquiring bank.
“All acquirers carry out thorough security checks before setting up an account, and monitor new accounts for any suspicious activity. Every card payment is fully traceable, right through to the recipient account, meaning if any fraud is reported the recipient is easily identifiable.”
Figures, again from The UK Card Association state that contactless card fraud is low
Instances of fraud on contactless cards are extremely rare, with the latest figures showing that contactless fraud totalled £51,000 over the first six months of 2014 – just 0.007 per cent of contactless card spending. However, if a card is lost or stolen, consumers are protected against fraud loss – they will not be liable for any fraudulent use and should report it to their card issuer as soon as possible.
Can this type of fraud be mitigated against?
Many reataliers are selling RFID blocking technology that can be integrated in to wallets, shielding attempts to block radio signals from reaching the tag by enclosing it within a container made of material that blocks electromagnetic signals in the RFID spectrum by acting as a Faraday cage.
So should we be worried?
Yes, and no, as with all aspects of personal security a little bit of knowledge goes a long way, keeping wallets with contactless cards safe is a good idea anyway, keeping a wallet in a chest pocket rather than back pocket, making sure bags are zipped closed all help as the key to contactless is proximity to the reader, make this difficult and that is half the battle won.