Thieves stealing bags for tap-and-go cards

The lure of tap-and-go bank cards has been blamed for a spike in wallet and bag thefts in South Australia.

The number of wallets and handbags reported stolen has increased in recent years and police say there’s a direct link to the increased use of contactless cards.

Analysis of a random sample of bag and wallet thefts found 40 per cent of the cards stolen were then used to make tap-and-go purchases.

One woman whose handbag was stolen from a city food hall reported the theft to her bank six days later, only to learn the thieves had spent $2175 with tap-and-go purchases.

“It is our belief that these thefts are being motivated by low-level criminals wanting to obtain these contactless payment cards,” SA Assistant Commissioner Paul Dickson said.

“These types of incidents are highly disruptive for the victim as they have to cancel and replace the full contents of their wallet or purse.

“Plus it places them at additional risk of crime, such as identity theft.”

Australian Bankers’ Association spokeswoman Diane Tate said contactless cards had built-in safety features to help identify possible fraud but people should still be careful with them.

“Customers should always take steps to keep their cards safe and ensure they contact their bank immediately if their card has been lost or stolen,” she said.


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