RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's a sign of the times: instead of pulling out your wallet, you can now use your phone to pay. It's convenient for consumers, but fraudsters are not far behind.
If you're tech savvy, chances are you've used your phone to make a payment. The "tap-to-pay" market is booming, with consumers shelling out more than $3 billion using services like Apple Pay. Crooks are aware of the technology, and cyber experts say if you use it, click with caution
They say mobile payments are only as secure as the weakest link. In this case, the weakest link appears to be validating that the card put into the service has been presented by the rightful owner and not a fraudster. Instead of physically crafting counterfeit cards, crooks can now can steal consumers' identities using a little information and an iPhone.
Before you use mobile payment, you want to ask your bank, how does this work with my credit card, what are my consumer protections, and how can I better protect myself?
Cyber experts say you also have to understand the privacy settings of whatever mobile payment app you use, and get a brand-new email account that you have never used before and connect it to that mobile wallet. That way, if you start to see strange emails to that account, you know you probably need to investigate the security of your mobile wallet.
Keep in mind that Apple Pay itself has not been breached. Experts say any fraud so far has been centered around how the banks verify the cards added into Apple Pay.
Tech experts say another safety tool is to use your credit card instead of your debit card to get consumer protections.