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Top Tips To Stop "Digital Pickpockets"

Tom Douglas
Tom Douglas

05:16 5 Dec 2022

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Watch out for 'Digital Pick Pocketers' this Christmas.

Criminals are using wireless contactless payment machines to tap cards when the owners aren't looking.

Technology Correspondent Jess Kelly says these pickpockets are smart, and take smaller, less noticable amounts.

That ranges from €5 to €30 per transaction, in an effort to avoid getting spotted.

Jess says these devices are handy for retailers, but they're now being abused:

"Well unfortunately there are bad guys using these machines."

She says there is at least one example she knows of in Cork, where someone used a wireless contactless machine.

They will stand next to someone who is ordering drinks at a bar and tap their card when they're not looking.

"Taking small sums of money," Jess says.

How To Stop This?

  • Put a strip of tin foil around your card, it's not glam but it might save you getting robbed.
  • Metal wallets also stop the signal, some of them have a metal shell with leather or fabric around that.
    • These will block the signal from the card reader as it tries to find the contactless chip in your card.
  • Otherwise, just use Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay or another app like these.
    • The benefit is, your phone needs authentication to allow the app to make a payment, so face or fingerprint ID - depending on your phone.

I've Been Robbed?!?

Go to the Gardaí.

Jess says, "people arent going to the guards because it's for a fiver or a tenner."

But she adds this is still a crime.

Report it, so Gardaí know where and how often it's happening.

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