New technology helps combat card fraud

State-of-the-art technology is helping Northamptonshire Police to clamp down on people who commit credit and debit card fraud.

Jul 23, 2009
By Paul Jacques

State-of-the-art technology is helping Northamptonshire Police to clamp down on people who commit credit and debit card fraud.

The force has distributed eight card readers to custody suites and prisoner investigation units at Corby, Wellingborough, Weston Favell and Campbell Square. Card readers can read the details on any card with a magnetic strip and can help work out whether cards are cloned or counterfeit in quick time.

Ten of the machines, manufactured by RFID technology and auto-ID hardware specialist Promag, have also been given to road policing teams across the county so that officers can check the cards they find on suspects when they are out and about.

Manager of the force’s cheque and payment card intelligence unit, DC Anne Brickwood, said: “We appreciate that officers and staff will be dealing with people found in possession of suspected cloned cards outside of office hours and these devices will help establish the validity of cards immediately.

“The card readers are the latest hi-tech device we have to help tackle what can be a highly-sophisticated crime.”

When a card is swiped through the machine, users will be able to compare the data on the card reader to the printed or embossed details on the plastic card to see if it matches.

The majority of recovered cloned cards are phone top-up cards and gift cards. However, any card with a magnetic strip is capable of being used to carry payment card details.

DC Brickwood added: “The devices do not record or save details and any data that is found is written down to ensure confidentiality.”

Once a card is believed to be counterfeit, the cheque and payment card intelligence unit can state which bank holds the genuine account concerned.

An alert will then be sent out to the relevant banks warning them of the compromise on the card.

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