Mobile payments for goods and services are becoming increasingly common. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office says financial identity fraud occurs when anyone uses another person’s identifying information in an attempt to open a credit card or debit account without that person’s permission.
It also happens when someone uses a scanning device that copies or changes the information on a plastic card’s black magnetic strip.
Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy for the Consumer Federation of America, says it’s important to know just what information
is collected when making a payment with a smartphone or other device.
Grant says smartphones, tablets and other devices contain lots of sensitive information. From mobile payments, she says thieves can find out account numbers and passwords, as well as your location, who you do business with, what you spend, and what you buy.
She adds, you should closely examine each app you download to make mobile payments and monitor the information it passes along. Grant says it’s important to take steps ahead of time to protect your personal information if you lose your device.
“Lost and stolen mobile devices are a big problem,” says Grant. “You want to have a feature where you can track your device and where you can lock it remotely, or even wipe the contents in extreme situations, in order to protect yourself.”
It’s a crime in Arkansas to use another person’s identifying information without his or her consent for any unlawful purpose.
Anyone who, for example, uses it to avoid criminal prosecution, harass someone else, or to try to obtain anything of value commits the crime of non-financial identity fraud and faces up to six years in prison.