The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broke the news in May 2013 that certain Marks and Spencer (M&S) customers had been experiencing issues with the use of contactless payment cards at stores in the UK.
BBC reporter Bob Howard (Radio 4’s ‘Money Box’ programme) appears to have been approached by a number of M&S customers who claim that payments have been taken from their RFID enabled / contactless cards, whilst still in their wallets but nonetheless in proximity to ‘point-of-sale’ terminals.
A BBC spokesperson said,
“Cards are supposed to be within about 4cm of the front of the contactless terminal to work. But some customers say payments have been taken from cards while in purses and wallets at much greater distances.”
M&S remains (perhaps understandably) adamant that its payment processes are robust and entirely fit for purpose. However, one customer told the BBC…
” I put my card into the reader and the assistant was asking whether or not I wanted cash back. Before I could answer, the transaction came up as complete and the till issued a receipt so I hadn’t put in a pin at all at that stage. I queried it with an assistant and she looked rather puzzled and looked at the receipt and compared it to my card and realised that the numbers didn’t tally.”
There have also been reports of ‘double charging’ , where two contactless payment cards are charged simultaneously – however, the jury is currently out on whether this is a real problem or not. Elsewhere amongst Britain’s press (n.b. The Daily Mail, The Telegraph) are articles reporting similar themes, and one claim that we have heard about is where a customer would like to make a cash payment for goods at the payment terminal, only to find that their item has already been checked out. What may be happening in such instances, is that the person wishing to make a cash purchase has moved sufficiently close enough to the payment terminal for a contactless credit, debit or store card on their person to activate – and thus complete the sale.
Some will take the view that this is an invasion of privacy, although perhaps the overarching theme is merely that our choice as customers is being eroded, (i.e. our ability to determine exactly how, and when, we pay for goods). However, by keeping our contactless payment cards safe within RFID protective sleeves we can take control quite easily – dictating when, and how, we are charged for goods – making payments on our terms.
To purchase low-cost RFID shielding sleeves for your contactless cards click here.
More on this extraordinary development can be found at the following link: bbc.co.uk/news/business-22545804
Leading defence contractor BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines recently experienced a frustrating issue whereby certain workers reported their ‘contactless’ ID smart cards had stopped functioning after being in the proximity of TIG welding operations; resulting in denied access to various sectors of a secure facility in England.
Download Press Release:
TIG welding – bad news for contactless door entry systems? (PDF 39KB)
RFID Protect – backs Team Repli-Cast UK Racing as a main sponsor in their 2013 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship.
Building on our positive experiences in 2012, RFID Protect has increased its level of involvement in high speed motorsport. As a main sponsor with Team Repli-Cast UK Racing we’re demonstrating our commitment to supporting new talent and backing riders that aspire to reach the upper echelons of the sport.
Download Press Release:
RFID Protect – backing BSB British Superbike riders in 2013 (PDF 86KB)
Everyone’s favourite daytime TV show This Morning featured a selection of our products during a slot about credit card fraud and the fast-growing issue of ‘e-pickpocketing‘. During a five-minute feature, presenter Phillip Schofield showcased RFID Protect’s latest Leather Multi-card Holder, which has been designed in collaboration with crime-reduction officers at Victoria Police, Australia and is new to the UK.
Mr Schofield was visibly shocked at the ease by which information can be ‘skimmed’ from a contactless credit or debit card; during a demonstration given by Thomas Cannon (Director of Research and Development) at American company ViaForensics.
First shown on Thursday 10th May, 2012 the programme can be viewed again for a limited period, at http://www.itv.com/thismorning/ and a direct link to their Crime File discussion area for this particular issue can be found at: http://www.itv.com/thismorning/life/crime-file-120510/
A spokesman for RFID Protect said,
“…we’re absolutely thrilled that ITV came to us for guidance on the whole issue of ‘e-pickpocketing’, and what members of the public can do to better protect their contactless bank cards. Working with the team on This Morning has been a great pleasure; it’s great to receive so much positive feedback about our work and products.”
TWENTY million Brits are at risk of having their bank details stolen by electronic pickpockets, a Sun investigation has revealed!
Journalist Nick Francis of The Sun newspaper has spearheaded a major investigation into the potential for contactless crime, taking the work of RFID Protect to a national audience. In an interview with RFID Protect spokesman David Maxwell The Sun revealed:
“…David is a former cop and director of RFID Protect, a firm specialising in products which combat RFID fraud. It has been a big problem in America for a while and now it is getting to be a problem over here. It is a difficult thing to put statistics on because it’s hard to tell how your card details were skimmed.”
“If you ring your bank they will point out there are many ways to lose your card ID, which is true, and by the time you find out you’ve been skimmed it is too late to work out how.
“But the technology is out there and in the wrong hands.”
Source: The Sun (News International)
Date: Sunday 29 April 2012
Original author: Nick Francis
You can read the full story at this link: “Robbed by Radiowave” The Sun Newspaper (News International)
As an official sponsor of Asher Durham and his team mate James Hobson we’re demonstrating our commitment to supporting new talent in the British 125cc class, backing young riders that aspire to reach the upper echelons of the sport.
Download Press Release:
RFID Protect sponsors BSB British Superbike riders (PDF 36KB)
When your bank tells you that a new ‘contactless’ payment card is 100% secure, perhaps you’ll keep in mind their track record for ‘security’. And whilst we’ve been actively assisting in the fight to tackle the ‘e-pickpocket’ for many years now, it’s an issue that only today reached mainstream awareness – via a Channel 4 news item.
“All I did was tap my phone over your wallet and using the wireless reader on the phone I was able to lift out the details from your card, that includes the long card number, the expiry date and your name.” Thomas Cannon, ViaForensics
There’s probably nothing to worry about in the longer-term. But right now (and certainly to be on the safe side) why not avoid potential mayhem and consider a low-cost ‘anti-skim’ sleeve for that new ‘contactless’ credit or debit card; such as those that can be purchased from RFID Protect.
Benjamin Cohen, who is Channel 4 News’ Technology Correspondent sheds more light on the matter here at Channel 4 News