During arrests of criminal couriers, law enforcement officers rarely find bundles of cash wrapped in rubber bands anymore. Instead, they find stacks of plastic cards — bank credit and debit cards, retail gift cards, library cards, hotel card keys, even magnetic-striped Metrorail cards — that have been turned into prepaid cards.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Electronic Recovery and Access to Data (ERAD) Prepaid Card Reader is becoming a vital tool for law enforcement seizing these cards and funds associated with criminal activity.
The ERAD Prepaid Card Reader is a small, handheld device that uses wireless connectivity to allow law enforcement officers in the field to check the balance of cards. This allows for identification of suspicious prepaid cards and the ability to put a temporary hold on the linked funds until a full investigation can be completed. The project, developed by S&T’s First Responder Group (FRG), began in March 2012.