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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 December 2004, 17:13 GMT
Your comments: The card fraud fight
The chip and pin system officially begins on Saturday, but Money Box has learnt that many retailers do not have the technology installed, and four out of 10 cards have not been upgraded.

Meanwhile, a new anti-fraud system is currently being used by three banks.

Developed by Adeptra, the technology works by identifying purchases the banks would like to check, and then telephoning the card holder to ask them to verify the purchase.

We asked what you thought about the methods currently being used to tackle card fraud.

Below is a selection of your comments:

I am not convinced that chip and pin thing is anything other than a way for the banks to wriggle out of their responsibilities.

If it is a fraudulent transaction, there will now be no way of proving that it was not me. Signature checking provides some opportunity to argue.

The baddies are not long behind this expensive mistake
Pin numbers are encrypted onto the card. Academics have just published papers about the techniques necessary to crack the encryption.

The baddies are not long behind this expensive mistake. If academic security consultants are prepared to voice their reasonable concerns why should they not be believed?

And the technology is so slow.

If I am refused when trying to sign a card counterfoil then it is time to dust off the cheque book.

I am a US ex-pat, and I maintain a visa card with a major US bank. The bank uses this "computer phones you" system when it questions a charge.

I am concerned that the computer asks me for security details regarding my account, but does not verify its own authenticity to me.

When I get one of these calls, I do not respond to it immediately - since it asks for my security information - but I do call back, not to the phone number the computer gives me but to the phone number on the back of the credit card.

I then confirm or deny the questioned charges while speaking with a person I am sure is with the bank.

I question the logic of this computerised system.
Karen Baker

I have had many messages from my bank saying that they would never ask for details over the phone or internet, so when my husband was phoned by a computer he assumed it was a scam.

I know the birthdays of all my family and many of my friends, so I do not see how this could be used as a secure way of making sure that the right person has answered the phone.
Priscilla Lawrence

I very much welcome the switch to chip and pin, having used the system while living both in Denmark and New Zealand.

A signature is not secure by any means as shop assistants frequently fail to check it, sometimes handing the card back before I have even signed!

However, there are some problems with the system in the UK.

Many of the keypads are permanently attached to fittings, so you cannot position it to ensure privacy. This also presents accessibility problems for disabled customers. Some seem to have been positioned for the convenience of the cashier, not the customer.

I have had two extremely bad experiences using chip and pin recently.

I am seven months pregnant and could not physically reach the keypad
Megan Montgomery
Firstly, I was asked by a cashier whether I knew my pin number. "Yes," I replied, and held my hand out to be passed the keypad. "Well, what is it then?" asked the cashier, hand poised over the keypad. She genuinely expected me to tell her. I was speechless!

The other bad experience was with one of the fixed keypads. I am seven months pregnant and could not physically reach the keypad. Luckily it was a small value transaction and I was able to pay with cash although I was offered the option of telling the cashier my pin number in order to process the transaction!
Megan Montgomery

I have been called a number of times by the Adeptra system and it is so annoying. It expects you to drop everything to answer the questions, which take some time. Since it usually calls a mobile phone you cannot always do this or hear what it is saying.

But unless you do this long-winded process you cannot use your card. It would take just 30 seconds for a real person to call and check. This is not good technology.

I like the new chip and pin system
Nick Sharpe
I like the new chip and pin system. Much easier to use in the shops instead of a signature.
Nick Sharpe

I do not use hole in the wall and I will not use chip and pin. I suspect it can be easily intercepted.

Both my sons, one a mathematician and the other a computer scientist, have lacquered over their chip connections in order to disable them.

I object to the lack of consultation and the de-personalisation of services.

I think the chip and pin system, if it does help prevent fraud, is a very good idea. However, my 84-year-old mother uses her credit card when doing her shopping, and would find it very confusing to either remember her pin number or find where she kept a record of it.

Therefore, for older people, it would be a good idea to retain the signing option.
Marilyne Rose

Here in Jersey certain retailers have been advising customers that after 1 January, without a pin their cards are unacceptable.

I have spoken to Barclaycard and First Direct (as issuers of cards I hold) and have been told by both that this is an unreasonable approach.

I have yet to come across a single retailer with a Brail key pad
Charles O'Sullivan
I am also concerned that there is no shield on the key pad making it very simple to see the pin being input. The French use shields and you can still sign with their system.

The visually impaired and blind here in Jersey are in a no-win situation. I have yet to come across a single retailer with a Brail key pad. The key pads I have used have no markings on the keys to assist the visually impaired.

Some thought needs to go into the practicalities of using the system and there also needs to be an acceptance that there will always be a minority who for medical reasons will have no option but to sign for the rest of their lives.
Charles O'Sullivan

As someone who goes abroad and takes their card with them, I think that the chip and pin system is a good idea. What a pity the UK did not introduce it sooner.

I have been informed by my credit card provider that as I have two additional card holders on my account (my wife and my son), I cannot have a chip and pin card.

They told me that to qualify for a chip and pin card I would have to delete one of the additional card holders. This makes a mockery of the whole system.
Andy Mickleburgh

Chip and Pin is a farce. I was in a well-known high street retailer yesterday, and was not at all confident that the person at the till was not looking at my pin. Then he whipped the terminal away from me, removed and re-inserted my card and told me to do it again!

I had only his word for it that the transaction had not been billed twice as there is no audit trail.

Also, I have previously had a perfectly valid card declined repeatedly at a supermarket simply because their card-reading machine does not work properly.

I listened to your piece on Adeptra with interest. Are the banks making anonymous phone calls with the caller identity withheld?

By making calls from anonymous numbers, the banks will make it far easier for fraudsters to obtain information through fake calls. Anyone can hide their Caller ID by before making a call.

Calls should be made from a phone number which can be shown to belong to the bank, preferably the fraud hotline number which is printed on the back of the card in question.

I would like to see legislation that ensures banks must never make untraceable calls to consumers without a valid caller ID, and must never send e-mail to customers without an encrypted signature.
David Woodhouse

My cards were cloned because the retailers I used were not ready for the new chip and pin system so made me sign the receipt as normal. But fortunately my bank was quick enough to realise what had happened and alerted me.

I had never been in the locations where my cards were used, so the bank refunded the amounts taken. I was really thankful for how quickly my bank reacted.
Mohamed Ali

Chip and pin will produce situations very similar to phantom withdrawals from cash machines, where the banks insist that if the pin is entered then the consumer must have disclosed it to a third party.

I feel happier with a signed piece of paper, as there is at least some tangible evidence of the transaction
Jim Miles
This effectively places the onus on the consumer to show that they have not voluntarily or carelessly disclosed the pin, which is impossible to prove.

I feel happier with a signed piece of paper, as there is at least some tangible evidence of the transaction that can be analysed to determine whether or not I did sign.
Jim Miles

Something no-one seems to have raised is the fact that while you are putting in your pin number, in most supermarkets, there is a security camera looking over your shoulder down onto the key pad.

This gives the security operative not only information on your appearance which they can probably print off but also a view of your number.
Keith Braund

I have first-hand experience of Adeptra, and like one of your interviewees I thought it was a scam as the caller said they were from Egg but then said I had to call a number I did not know.

I called Egg customer services to talk to a human being and was informed the call had been genuine. They then took the time to confirm that I had made the purchases.

As an IT manager with responsibility for the security of my company's systems and data, I am all for anything which tackles fraud.

But it is a shame the banks seem not to have taken the time to inform customers that this was being implemented.
Allan Nevett

No system is fraud proof and to transfer all the burden of proof onto an individual is not on.

The terminals I have seen in use seem to have too little shielding to deter onlookers
Steve Dixey
Time and time again, we have new systems claiming all sorts of protection, yet after a while, people work out a way to get around the safeguards. Only this time, the consumer appears to be on their own.

The terminals I have seen in use seem to have too little shielding to deter onlookers compared to terminals I have seen in Europe, meaning I have to resort to masking my key presses.

Even doing that means that someone may still get lucky by guessing from the position of my fingers over the key pad. I think photo ID is still needed on the card as a back-up.
Steve Dixey

I would be interested to know whether the banks have given any thought about how elderly people are supposed to be able to deal with all these changes.

How banks think elderly customers can deal with this is beyond me
Diana Rossi
It has taken me a long time to get my mother - who is in her 80s - to use her pin rather than sign.

I have just heard your report on computers calling customers if a fraudulent transaction is suspected. How banks think elderly customers can deal with this is beyond me. I suspect they have not canvassed one elderly person for their views.
Diana Rossi

People should be required to both enter their pin number and sign the receipt. This way, if someone sees you entering your pin and then steals your credit card they still have to copy your signature to be able to use your card.

Combine Adeptra with the telephone scams that ask you to "press nine" to be connected to a 20/min overseas premium rate line, and you have a new and deadly phone scam!

Will the banks indemnify us against all scams appearing to be from them?
John Pickin

This is not about security. It is about the banks transferring their liability for fraud.

Wait for all the complaints about "phantom transactions" to add to the ones about "phantom withdrawals" from the wildly insecure cash machines.
John Collins

When will the chip and pin technology be extended to cover telephone and internet purchases?

Whilst point-of-sale represents the largest proportion of transactions, it still leaves the others highly vulnerable.
Mr Paul W Hunt

What concerns me about the Adeptra system is that most of my spending is done away from home.

I do not have my mobile switched on and I do not give the number to people other than my family. So I would not receive a call to my landline number until I get home, possibly many hours later.

What will happen when the computer dials me and gets no reply? Will the transaction go through? And will I be defended against fraud?
Margaret Elmes

The new chip and pin system protects the customer less well than a signature.

A signature made fraudulently can be examined forensically to prove fraud.

A pin number entered correctly may mean the burden of proof falls onto the customer. What is in it for me?
Chris Hall

I am not convinced the new chip and pin system will wholly be in the interest of the consumer.

My bank suggested I change my pin number to one that is more memorable.

There will be frequent opportunities to observe a pin number being entered
James Prentice
With the many security numbers we have to remember these days I can see that some people will be tempted to use the same pin across the range of cards they hold.

There will be frequent opportunities to observe a pin number being entered considering the number of transactions a person may make during a normal day.

I would be happier if a combination of pin entry and signature were to be used.
James Prentice

I think the Adeptra systems sounds like a useful tool against fraud, providing it is not over-used.

But is it going to be used when consumers make transactions overseas, resulting in expensive roaming costs for bank customers?
Roger Killick

My bank used to have the best anti-fraud device. My card had my mug shot on it and my signature sealed in photographically.

Everybody I have spoken to - including the bank tellers - agrees it is the easiest way of reassuring the vendor that the authorised holder of the card is the one using it. But it was only available to Gold customers and has now been withdrawn.

I was told this was because the new cards did not have space for the picture, but when the new card came through it was exactly the same as the old card with the picture missing.
Dennis Barber

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

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