OWL Card Minder - Contactless Credit/Debit Card Fraud Prevention
Credit and debit cards now have built-in contactless payment technology using RFID / NFC. Physical contact with your card is not required to take payment and can be read up to 3cm away with a scanner or mobile phone. Criminals could scan your card while it's still in your wallet, purse or pocket.
Mobile phones with a freely available app can be used to wirelessly pluck your credit card details out of thin air, although your name and security code are excluded.
Oyster travel cards use RFID and can be impacted by "card clash" which may result in over-payment for your journey.
How Do Contactless Cards Work?
A small microchip inside your card stores your details in electronic form. When it comes into proximity with a RFID scanner, which could be a payment terminal or a mobile phone with NFC technology, energy tranmitted from the scanner powers up the microchip which instantly transmits information back to the scanner. It all happens within half a second.
Aren't My Card Details Protected?
No, not completely because software to capture your card number and expiry date is widely available in the form of mobile apps or other software on the Internet. Sensitive information that everyone usually guards is easy to literally grab out of thin air without the knowledge of the card owner.
How Do I Know If My Details Get Stolen?
A fraudster can try to use your details to purchase an item from an online shop. If your bank detects that payment is out of character compared to your usual spending habits then there's a chance payment will be rejected and the bank will notify you. However, smaller payments, such as those under £30, look far less suspicious and aren't flagged up. You might not even notice them on your bank statement, or if you do and don't recall spending the money you might put it down to forgetfulness or just not recognising the confusing company names used in bank statements.
One victim saw a payment to Uber for £30 and had never travelled using Uber before, so after spotting this in his bank statement he contacted the bank and was able to get the money refunded. But if you don't spot unauthorised payments in your statement and you don't query them with your bank then you will never know if money has been stolen using contactless payment.
How Can I Protect My Cards?
Contactless cards use radio waves which can be blocked by metal, such as silver foil. But it's not reliable enough to put foil in your wallet or purse because it quickly weakens and tears allowing radio waves to get through.
A reliable solution is the OWL Card Minder made of a special material designed to block RFID signals. Simply slide your contactless card into the sleeve and it can no longer by read by scanners. The Cardminder sleeve is snug and fits inside your wallet or purse where you'd normally keep your card.
How Can I Get One?
You can buy an OWL Card Minder through your local Neighbourhood Watch group or via our online store. Each Card Minder sells for just £1 and a significant part of that is donated to good causes such as Neighbourhood Watch or community activities to help other people.
If you live in England, Scotland or N. Ireland you can buy from:
If you live in Wales you can buy from:
FAQsQ: Have OWL Card Minders been tested?
A: Yes, they have been tested against commercial contactless payment terminals and also a number of mobile phone apps. In each scenario the device failed to retrieve any information from the card inside the Card Minder sleeve, even when pressed firmly against it. This is the intended outcome.
Q: How many cards will fit inside a Card Minder?
A: The manufacturer designed it to hold 1 card. However, some people have squeezed in 2 cards but it may reduce the lifespan of the Card Minder if it's being stretched slightly, therefore we suggest following the manufacturer's guide of 1 card per sleeve.
More coming soon...