New government guidelines aim to prevent mobile phone fraud
Mobile operators and banks such as Barclays and RBS are carrying out trials of nearfield communication technology that allows customers to pay for goods by swiping phones over sensors in a similar way to Oyster cards.
But the Home Office is concerned that the technology might lead to more stolen phones and so has proposed the following measures:
* SIM cards and phones will be disabled as soon as possible once a contactless payment mobile phone is reported lost or stolen;
* Any transactions above £10 will require verification such as a PIN code;
* Any customer who signs up for a contactless payment phone will be encouraged to add their details on the National Mobile Phone Register to make it easier for stolen phones to be identified and recovered.
Home Office minister Alan Campbell said the guidelines will help reduce the theft of phones.
“This technology is an exciting new development but we must continue to work together to reduce any new opportunities for criminals to profit from mobile theft," he said.
"As new technologies like this develop we aim to consider where safeguards can be incorporated at the drawing board stage.”
The National Mobile Phone Register is linked to voluntary databases, such as Immobilise, where people can enter their phone’s details.
If a phone is lost or stolen police can identify it and return it to the rightful owner. Approximately 22 million phones are currently registered in this way.
Banks and phone companies will be encouraged to enforce the guidelines.
Jack Wraith, chairman of the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum, welcomed the move.
“The mobile phone industry has welcomed the opportunity to work with the banking industry in developing these guidelines to ensure that the customer experience in using contactless payments, via mobile devices, is both secure and robust," he said.
Dan Salmons, director of Payment Innovations at Barclaycard also welcomed the guidelines.
"Contactless is the future of payments and with plans for payments to be possible via mobile phone in 2010 the guidelines announced by the Home Office will ensure that security and consumer confidence in mobile payments is further improved," he said.