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Video Highlights Technology to Provide Information on Suspicious Prepaid Money Card

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2019
9 pages
This article presents background information and a description of the goal and features of a video intended to assist law enforcement in investigating suspicious prepaid money cards.
Cards with magnetic stripes, such as bank credit and debit cards, gift cards, and hotel card keys can be turned into prepaid cards. As a tool for investigating suspicious prepaid cards, The Electronic Recovery and Access to Data (ERAD) Prepaid Card Reader is a small, hand-held device that wirelessly enables law enforcement officers in the field to identify and check the balance of suspicious cards and then to put a temporary hold on the linked funds until a full investigation can be completed. Using ERAD attached to a smart phone, an officer can run the card through the device onsite. The device sends a signal to ERAD, which identifies the card and information about it, and an email is sent back to the officer. If the card comes back not to match, the involved assets on the card can be frozen using ERAD. The system also includes a USB-enabled scanner that users can connect to a desktop computer, enabling an investigator with a large number of cards to scan them at a computer. Available since 2015, ERAD is used by state and local law enforcement officers in 48 states and by federal and international law enforcement agencies. Prior to the development and availability of this tool, law enforcement officers had to contact each bank to determine whether a card was lost, stolen, bogus, or cloned.

Date Published: June 1, 2019