Anecdotal Cameraphone Identity Thieves In The News Again

from the a-little-proof-please... dept

In early 2004, we wrote about rumors that scammers were running rampant through grocery store lines snapping pictures of your credit card as you pulled it out. We noted, at the time, that this seemed quite unlikely, for a variety of reasons, including the low resolution found on camera phones. One of our readers even used a modern (at the time) cameraphone to snap a photo of his credit card and posted it online to show how unlikely the scenario was. Late last year, we had another story where there was no proof but plenty of conjecture. The details in that article were even more of a stretch as the only "proof" they had was some guy who insisted that must have been how his aunt's ATM info was stolen -- despite the fact that it's extremely unlikely that the cameraphone would be used both to snap a photo of the numbers and then record the woman punching in her PIN. So, here we are, eight months later, and once again, there's a fear-mongering report about cameraphones being used for identity theft, this time in the LA Times. Once again... there's no actual proof that this happens, but the article makes it out to be a big problem. In fact, the article claims it's "commonplace." Commonplace? Despite any actual proof that it's happened? Certainly, cameraphone resolution has improved in the last year and a half since the first report of this, but it still seems fairly unlikely at this point. It certainly may be a problem eventually -- but we'd like to see a story that actually has some proof instead of an anecdote about an anonymous person where they make a variety of assumptions concerning someone's credit card info being captured by cameraphone.
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