How to protect yourself from contactless card scams

protect from contactless scams
14 June 2016

There's reports of a new device doing the rounds which can clone 15 contactless bank cards a second.

The scam involves a scanner which skims details from the cards of those who are stood nearby the scam artist. Apparently, it can capture encrypted data onto blank cards from 8cm away.

The device in question, if you're a criminal looking to buy one, is called the Contactless Infusion X5, and will cost you around £500 and is available from all disreputable vendors on the dark web.

How Can I Stop Contactless Scams?

First thing is first - the UK Cards Association (UKCA), thinks that there's nothing to worry about. They say that "the only information which could ever be obtained from contactless card is the card number and expiry date – the same information you see by looking at the front of a card."

"It is not possible to create a card that would work in a shop or at an ATM with this data, as it does not include any of the cryptographic keys needed to make a payment."

"There is also no way anyone can obtain the security code on the back of the card, your name and address, or your bank account details. None of this information is available through the contactless system."

Want To Make Sure?

If you want to make your card a little safer, there's a number of things you can do.

There's a host of RFID wallets you can buy, and if you search the internet or Amazon for exactly that, you'll be able to buy a cheap wallet, or fancy affair, which will stop anyone from reading your card.

Or, if you like the wallet you've got, a strip of tinfoil is meant to thwart any criminals from reading your card when you don't want them too.

If a bit of tinfoil is a bit too scruffy for you, you can buy a protective shield for your card, like this one. If you want one that looks a bit more official, then you can have a look at this.

It seems like there's little to worry about, but if you want to be certain, those are just some of the options. Basically, buy some tinfoil, or just buy something that looks a bit tidier, but does the same thing as tinfoil.

TOPICS:   How To Guides   Scams   Banking

1 comment

  • neekeem

    I always thought the worry with contactless card scams wasn't that they'd get your number, but that they could charge people £29.99 and steal that money instead.

    I have an RFID sleeve for my card. It's only one step away from a tinfoil hat, but it makes me feel better.

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