The Police Service continues to be inundated with reports of theft – many of them thefts from vehicles – and one of the items consistently being targeted is credit and debit cards with the “tap” or “flash” feature.
Overall thefts, including thefts from vehicles, thefts over and under $5,000 and shoplifting, are up significantly from the same period last year. In June there were 384 theft reports compared to 241 in June of 2015.
Thieves will steal anything of value, especially items that can be sold or traded for drugs, but debit and credit cards with the flash feature are especially sought after and should never be left unattended in a vehicle or any other unsecure location.
The tap feature, which uses technology that allows cardholders to make contactless payments instead of entering a PIN or signing a receipt, makes the cards particularly vulnerable to theft and misuse and while most financial institutions do set transaction and daily limits for tap purchases, in most cases criminals have been able to use the cards for multiple purchases before they are reported stolen.
-NEVER leave your purse or wallet unattended in a vehicle or anywhere else for that matter, i.e. an unlocked locker at the gym or a pool, etc.
-Call your bank or credit card company and request the tap feature be disabled or request a card with no tap feature
-Report lost or stolen cards to your financial institution immediately
-Always monitor bank account information, including transactions closely for any fraudulent activity
-Do a TransUnion and Equifax check annually to ensure your identity has not been stolen
Please remember to always remove valuables such as purses, wallets, electronics, sunglasses, loose change, etc. from your vehicle and lock the doors. Theft from vehicles is largely a crime a of opportunity and in most cases preventable by simply removing valuables and locking the doors.