Foiled again: prevent contactless card fraud by foil-lining your wallet, says Which?

Investigation by Which? exposes fraudulent techniques for lifting card information

The rise of contactless card payments has seen an accompanying rise in cards being read by accident, or fraudulently.

The technology allows people to pay just by putting their card near a reader – no Pin is required, which means thefts can also occur if a card-reader is used without the card holder’s knowledge or permission.

There is currently a £20 maximum payment for contactless, but consumer watchdog, Which? magazine, said it had obtained even more information from contactless cards, which exposes consumers to greater levels of fraud.

Using a card reader and decoding software, Which? was able to “lift”, card numbers and expiry dates from cards, allowing them to make fraudulent purchases, including a £3,000 television, on the internet with the details.

But there is one trick to foil the fraudsters. And that is to foil-line your wallet. According to Which? wrapping your debit or credit card in foil is the way forward.

But Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: “The method shown by Which? is not a new discovery and was first reported two years ago. However, any such technology can only obtain the card number and expiry date - information that has always been available simply by looking at the front of a card,” the BBC reports.

“The vast majority of online retailers require additional data such as the card security code, along with the cardholder’s address, which cannot be harvested electronically. Any retailers that do not will do so at their own risk and will be liable for any fraudulent transactions,” he said.

“Instances of fraud on contactless cards are in fact extremely rare, with losses of less than a penny for every £100 spent on contactless - far lower even than overall card fraud,” Koch added.

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