An Ottawa-based security company says it's developed an inexpensive solution to foil thieves from stealing information from credit cards that let shoppers pay by waving their card in front of retail terminals.
But first it needs to convince consumers that this latest generation of identity thieves is a real threat, even as a major credit company says the exact opposite.
Oralogic Technologies Inc. - which sells a sleeve that shields to protect credit cards, access-control security passes and e-passports - recently launched a campaign to raise awareness of the phenomenon known as electronic pickpocketing.
According to Oralogic, thieves can steal account numbers and names simply by waving a small reader in front of these enhanced documents and cards, even if they are inside a wallet or purse.
However, Visa Canada said in a statement it has received no reports of customers being secretly defrauded using its technology, which it calls payWave.
“Because information travels from card to terminal without any contact, there is a remote risk that data can be intercepted,” reads a statement provided by a spokeswoman. “However, we have built in multiple layers of security for every Visa transaction that helps protect against fraud using stolen information.”
Ottawa police fraud investigators, meanwhile, say they are aware of the problem but that all known incidents have taken place in the United States, said spokesman Const. Henri Lanctot. The local police force hasn’t come across any cases in Ottawa, he said.
But Oralogic president and CEO Antonio Romeo insists the problem is real.
He said the credit card companies and police haven’t yet started tracking it because it’s impossible to differentiate from other types of fraud. His information has been stolen a number of times, he said.
“It’s not detectable because it happened to me personally on three separate occasions,” said Mr. Romeo.