Mastercard, Singapore Police Force implement device to tackle card crime

By Muneerah Bee

To combat fraud, Mastercard recently announced its partnership with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force to implement the Mastercard Forensic Reader (MFR) — cited to be the world’s first device to help law enforcement agencies detect payment card fraud with greater speed, accuracy and efficiency.

Resembling an in-store point-of-sale (POS) terminal, the MFR aims to improve the effectiveness, timeliness and accuracy in investigating payment card fraud of Mastercard and other payment cards. In the past, such investigations required protracted processes involving multiple parties such as investigation agencies, payment solution companies and card issuers. The introduction of the MFR enables law enforcement agencies to quickly process seized fraudulent cards and verify with the relevant card issuer if the card is a suspected counterfeit in a matter of seconds. The MFR reader is designed to be able to read chip, magnetic stripe or contactless cards.

Ian Wong, deputy director, Financial Investigation, Commercial Affairs Department, said: “Mastercard had been working very closely with the CAD in fighting payment card fraud since the 1980s. Besides providing invaluable assistance in our day-to-day investigations, Mastercard has also partnered CAD and other organisations in efforts to prevent payment card fraud. Mastercard’s donation of 10 pieces of Mastercard Forensic Reader will enhance CAD’s ability to investigate into payment card fraud and related offences.”

The MFR does not store any card information and provides simple reporting of large volumes of data in multiple formats including screen display, paper or digital.

Derek Pak, regional head, Customer Fraud Management, Asia-Pacific, Mastercard, said: “With criminals constantly thinking of new ways to by-pass security systems, industry-wide collaboration has never been of greater importance when staying one step ahead of the game. The Mastercard Forensic Reader is a practical example of how we’re putting our expertise and resources to innovating new ways to fight fraud, partnering with like-minded organisations such as local law enforcement agencies to implement this on-ground. It is the combined force of the industry that will allow us to effectively combat card fraud, with the common goal of safeguarding cardholders’ private information.”

Originally piloted in 2015, law enforcement agencies in Macau and Taiwan were among the first to adopt the MFR in Asia-Pacific.

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