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Wednesday, 1 August, 2001, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Thumbs up for anti-fraud scheme
Shoppers can refuse to give the print
Shoppers are being asked to fingerprint their credit card receipts in the latest attempt to stop card fraud.

The thumbprint scheme has reduced this type of crime by up to 70% in some parts of the country.

The thumb marked receipts will only be passed on to the police if a fraudulent transaction is made.

Biometic security, using the body's unique characteristics to make transactions secure, is thought to be the future of crime prevention.

Voluntary system

The fingerprint scheme was launched in Birmingham on Wednesday.

Retailers at the Fort Park Shopping Park have been issued with kits, which will be kept near the till.

When shoppers use their cards they are told about the scheme and asked to provide a thumbprint as well as their signature.

The ink should wipe off the hand easily
Sergeant Chris Tanbridge of West Midlands Police said: "If they refuse, the sales assistant may ask for further identification and it's up to the shop whether they want to continue with the transaction if there is no further ID available."

"We want to assure shoppers their prints will not be used for any other purpose. The only time police will access thumbprints is when a fraudulent transaction has been made."

The receipts will not be kept on a database but will go through the normal banking channels before being disposed of.

The ink used is a harmless vegetable dye, which simply wipes off the hand.

Police said a thumbprint scheme in Kent and Chichester has reduced fraudulent crime, in some cases between 60% and 75%.

BBC Midlands Today's David Gregory
"The latest method of fighting fraud"
See also:

20 Feb 01 | Business
Credit card fraud rises by 50%
15 Mar 99 | Business
Chips down for credit card fraud
16 Feb 99 | Your Money
Fraudsters target credit cards
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