Cell phone cameras being used at check stands?-Unproven!

Beware of Cell Phone Cameras at Check stands That Can Be Used to Capture Credit Card and Check Information-Unproven!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor warns that crooks may stand next to you in a store and take pictures with their call phone camera of your credit card or your check.
It claims that a report on CBS said this is one of the “fastest growing scams.”

The Truth:

This is one of those eRumors that feels like a collection of rumors, plausible realities, and confusion of stories.

First, we have not found any evidence of personal information being collected at cash registers using cell phone cameras. That’s probably because most of the current cameras do not capture a good enough image to see such detailed information. As cell phone cameras improve in quality, however, it’s more likely it can occur, so it’s good to be cautious.

This eRumor appeared in 2004 and spread quickly. We’ve found several news reports and even some law enforcement warnings, but their timing suggests they were prompted by the eRumor rather than actual reports of cell phone camera identity theft.

Also, this eRumor makes reference to getting information from checks, but that is not as significant a problem as getting information from credit cards. We all need to protect our credit card data because at the very least it can be used to make unauthorized purchases and at the very most it can be used as a part of identity theft.

Information from checks, however, is not as much of a threat.

Your bank account number is not a private as your credit card number.

It’s on every check to write and the mere knowledge of your bank account number does not lead to identity theft.

Also, contrary to the claim in the eRumor, the use of cell phone cameras in retail stores is not “one of the fastest growing scams” but identity theft is.

updated 11/29/04