S&T Snapshot: S&T’s Prepaid Card Reader Aids Law Enforcement in Seizing Fraudulent Cards

U.S. law enforcement agencies have a powerful new tool at their disposal: The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Electronic Recovery and Access to Data (ERAD) Prepaid Card Reader.

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.

A small, handheld device using wireless connectivity, the ERAD Prepaid Card reader enables law enforcement officers in the field to check the balance of cards. This information allows them to put a temporary hold on the linked funds until a full investigation can be completed. Using the ERAD Prepaid Card Reader, law enforcement officials have successfully seized or recovered suspicious cards loaded with approximately $10 million in fraudulent funds.

Interested in learning more? Read the full Snapshot Story. Do you have any questions about the publication? Please e-mail st.snapshots@hq.dhs.gov.