Post link 20 February 2016, 2:36
We reveal just how easy it is for a criminal to steal your contactless card details from inside your wallet - and how to stay safe
Mirror Money investigates just how easy it is for a criminal to steal your card details from within your wallet – and how easy it is to protect yourself

http://www.mastakongo.com/news/images/Articles_photo/2016/February/contactless-fraud-card-reader-apps-for-smartphones.jpg

15:30, 19 FEB 2016 BY JAMES ANDREWS mirror.co.uk

Pickpockets no longer need to actually pick your pocket. The rise in contactless cards means that, with the right device, they just need to walk by you to either grab £30 from your account, or the details of your card to use later on.

The issue was brought into the news this week, after a photo emerged of a man on public transport in Russia with a contactless card reader in his hand ready to use.

Worse, there has been at least one case in the UK where a thief stole a man's card details and racked up £2,125 worth of spending without the card ever leaving the man's possession.

So we wondered how hard something like this is to actually do, and just how vulnerable we are to it?

Have your say in our comments section below

Testing to see how at risk you are

http://www.mastakongo.com/news/images/Articles_photo/2016/February/card-clash-contactless.jpgPickpockets can now reach through your clothes and into your wallet

It took less than a minute to search for an app that turns a smartphone into a card reader, download it then drop the phone next to a wallet to see if the card could be read while inside.

It could. Not just on one person, and not just with one wallet. In less than five minutes we'd pulled seven people's card details, all from different wallets and purses, just using a phone.

It even worked when the card was inside someone's wallet, inside someone's pocket.

And despite warnings about the danger of card clash, when we tried it with a wallet that had three different contactless cards in it, it still worked. All that happened was that the reader picked one and took its details, ignoring the rest.

We should stress that we used a simple, legal, app and could pull card details such as the long card number, the provider and expiry date.

This is not enough to actually take money from someone's account. In the UK you need this information plus the three digit code on the back of the card to shop with. This isn't included in any of the information pulled using free apps.

However, an actual point of sale terminal would allow you to pull £30 straight from the card istelf.

So how do you protect yourself?

http://www.mastakongo.com/news/images/Articles_photo/2016/February/a-man-with-a-card-reader-on-the-train-in-Russia.jpg
The infamous shot of a man with a card reader on the train in Russia


The good news was that while we found out when we were at risk, we also found out what would block the cards being read.

In many cases, simply turning your wallet around so coins etc were between the card and the outside blocked the reader.

However, there are also more secure ways that don't rely on you remembering which side your cards are on.

You can buy a RFID-blocking wallet or credit card holder that will block the contactless signal effectively. These cost from a few pounds to a lot more.

You can also buy individual sleeves for your cards that will fit inside any wallet for a couple of pounds (or less if you buy a multi-pack) – meaning cards won't be read or clash with each other.

Of course, the blocking technology – the technical term is “Faraday Cage” - is really rather simple. Meaning you can even build your own using duct tape and tinfoil or protect your own card slots. Although we'd advise testing home-made ones first before relying on them.

How scared should you be of losing money?

While it's clearly remarkably easy for someone to get your bank details from inside your wallet, it's a lot harder to pull money itself out.

"We have not received any reports of this type of incident ever occurring in the UK,” a spokesman for The UK Cards Association told Mirror Money.

He pointed out that to receive any money from a contactless 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.

Additionally, every card payment is fully traceable, right through to the recipient account, meaning if any fraud is reported the recipient is easily identifiable.

“Cardholders are fully protected against fraud and would receive a full refund from their bank," he added.



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