CHILDREN as young as 10 are using 'tap-and-go' credit cards to steal, helping to push deception crime up by 48 per cent in the past year in Victoria.
The overall crime rate rose by five per cent in the same period.
The banks bring out new technology that you can tap and go but the reality is someone can find these cards and use it to go on a spending spree.
Credit-card fraud using stolen cards that do not need a pin number for small purchases have contributed to an 11,600 increase in deceptions, police say.
Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said 'tap-and-go' deception crimes were "chewing up police resources".
His deputy, Lucinda Nolan, said while most deception offences were committed by adults, police had seen a ‘‘disproportionate increase’’ in children aged 10 to 15 years committing such crimes.
‘‘We haven’t seen that before,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s easy to steal a credit card from a mail box, immediately go to a retail outlet, and make multiple low-value transactions.’’
Ms Nolan said police believe rises in car and home burglaries were linked to the credit cards.
‘‘Credit cards are being stolen from cars, they’re being stolen from houses and they’re being stolen from mailboxes,’’ she said.
‘‘Quite often these offences are occurring overnight so those cards are being used even before the victim has actually woken up.’’
Victoria Police is in ‘‘ongoing discussions’’ with all financial institutions to come up with a resolution, she said.
‘‘From a personal perspective I’d like to see them scrapped,’’ Ms Nolan said of the pay-and-go credit cards.
‘‘That would be an immediate cessation of this type of offending.
‘‘I do understand there are business models, but surely there can be some more security measures that are brought in to just stop making it so easy.’’