PayWave cards create growing theft in Hamilton

PayWave cards create growing theft in Hamilton

A victim of a contactless card theft in Hamilton is warning others about the risk associated with the 'pin-free' payment system.

Police are still on the hunt for the offender, and say the incident is part of a growing number of this type of theft across the district.

It's convenient for consumers but it seems contactless, or tap and go, cards are also making life easier for thieves.

Hamilton shop owner Tanya Clancy was twice targeted by a man - the first time after having her handbag stolen from inside her locked vehicle.

"In 20 minutes from the time I got myself together to the time I got on the phone they'd spent nearly $1000 on payWave," says Ms Clancy.

The payWave and PayPass systems allow consumers to hover their card over a payment terminal, meaning there's no signature or pin required.

Each transaction has an $80 limit, but that hasn't stopped a number of thieves in Hamilton.

"There was one transaction that was $113 dollars and it had been accepted which meant that they had actually swiped it twice to pay for one transaction," she says.

Police say contactless card theft is the second-most common offence across the district, with most offenders racking up 4 - 5 charges at petrol stations or liquor stores before quickly disposing of the card.

Officers say bars and house parties are a hotspot for thieves, and are warning people to stay vigilant.

Ms Clancy agrees.

"The banks don't tell you the pitfalls of having these cards, and how quickly in 25 minutes people can rack up money from you."

But the Bankers Association says cases like this shouldn't put people off.

"I think it's important for people to treat these cards like cash. If they haven't caused or contributed to the loss, they have kept their card safe then their bank will look after them," chief executive Kirk Hope says.

Ms Clancy says her banks were quick to respond, but thinks it's unfair all cards now have tap and go capabilities.

She says if she had a choice she'd avoid them for good.

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