Protections and privacy when using a mobile wallet

Mobile payment technology

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The "tap-to-pay" market is booming with consumers shelling out more than $3 billion using services like Apple Pay.

We know, however, that fraudsters find the action and take their scams to it.

WBTV Cyber Expert Theresa Payton says mobile payments are only as secure as the weakest link. In this case, she says, the weakest link appears to be validating that the card put into the wallet has been presented by the rightful owner versus a fraudster. Instead of physically crafting counterfeit cards fraudsters now can steal consumers' identities using a little information and an iPhone.

Theresa reminds us that Apple Pay itself has not been breached. Any fraud so far has been centered around how the banks verify the cards added into Apple Pay.

More advice from Theresa follows:

There are 2 paths when you add a card. A "green path" means that it looks okay to add your card immediately to Apple pay because your account looks to be in order. Some banks were accepting cards without ANY verification if on the green path. There is a "yellow" path which might mean the apple account is new or there is something that indicates and extra verification might be needed. In that case, some banks asked for something fraudsters can easily find such as your address, social security number, or some other public data. Not all banks do this the same way so the rate of fraud is different by bank. Some banks only ask for the last 4 digits of your social security number when you load the card, that's not going to stop a fraudster that knows what they are doing.

Suggestion to banks:

It's possible the banks adopted this too quickly and should have really thought through doing small pilots first.

New technology often outpaces our ability to secure it.

Advice to consumers:

If you want to try this new technology, don't let this scare you. Talk to your bank to make sure you know their guidelines.

Use just your credit card vs. debit card to get consumer protections. Dedicate a brand new email address to this account to make sure it isn't in the hands of fraudsters.

Use your visa instead of your debit card for more protections

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