Police in talks with banks to fight tap-and-go crime wave

The Paywave technology is suspected of being a major factor in up to 100 extra deceptions a week, and police and banks are in talks about the crime wave.

Police have declined to say what they want done. But the Herald Sun understands they favour a partial reversion to using personal identification numbers.

Tap-and-go allows buyers to place their cards over a reader for sub-$100 purchases, without having to use PINs.

Some police say they have been inundated by tap-and-go theft cases.

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Cards are stolen — often by drug addicts — and used to make as many $90-range purchases as possible.

The goods bought, often alcohol and perfume, are then exchanged for ice, heroin, or cash.

There have been instances of thieves ignoring laptops and mobile phones for the cards.

Banks cover cardholders’ losses, providing they did not contribute to the fraud.

Detective Superintendent Patrick Boyle said there had been a rise of more than 5000 deceptions, up 18 per cent.

“Victims are reporting significantly more deceptions involving stolen credit cards being used for multiple low-value transactions — under $100,” Det. Supt Boyle said.

“(We are) in consultation with financial institutions in relation to a number of recommendations around an increase in security with minimal inconvenience for customers.”

Australian Bankers’ Association chief Steven Munchenberg was sceptical about tap-and-go’s role: “We don’t see any evidence to back that up.”

And banking sources say the sum stolen is smaller than in the days when signatures were used for card purchases.

A spokeswoman for Visa, which operates payWave, said the level of card fraud was low and “contactless technology” had not increased the rate.

Such fraud made up only 2 per cent of total card fraud, despite such transactions rising by 350 per cent in 2013.