Nfld. & Labrador

String of thefts of debit cards with tap feature prompts RCMP warning

RCMP are warning people in Newfoundland and Labrador not to leave their valuables unattended, after a number of debit cards with the tap feature were stolen.
The RCMP is investigating several instances where bank cards were stolen and used at different businesses. 1:00

Newfoundland and Labrador RCMP are warning people to take extra precautions with their debit cards after a string of thefts on the Avalon involving cards with the tap feature.

The tap technology allows people to simply tap a debit machine with their cards for purchases under $100 — without entering a pin number.

While people may find the feature convenient if they're in a rush, it also makes it easier for stolen cards to be misused.

"If someone gets hold of this card with a tap feature they can go in, use up to $100 and away they go," said RCMP Cpl. Trevor O'Keefe.

That's what happened when a 21-year-old woman used a stolen debit card to swipe the card, without a pin, to purchase items.

The suspect turned herself into police Wednesday after surveillance video of her using the stolen card circulated on social media.

According to O'Keefe, there's been a number of cases on the Avalon Peninsula of cards being stolen.

"There were wallets and purses left in unlocked vehicles and a suspect went inside and took some debit cards which actually had the tap feature," said O'Keefe.

O'Keefe said the cards were stolen from vehicles and RCMP are advising residents to ensure all valuables are taken with them when they exit their cars.

"We certainly advise people to take any valuable property, be it wallets, purses, anything of value, keep it out of sight. If you don't need it in your car, take it in in the evenings," he said.

"If somebody wants something and they can see it in plain view, they'll take it. It doesn't matter if the door is unlocked or they have to smash a window to get to it, they're gonna take it."

With files from Amy Stoodley

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