Passengers travelling out of Pearson airport are being advised to be cautious when using their credit cards at the self-service kiosks in light of an investigation of suspected credit card fraud.
WestJet, one of 13 airlines that use automated kiosks, announced yesterday it would disable credit card readers on its machines across the country as a precaution.
"We have done it to ensure that there is no possibility of something happening to a passenger's personal information," said an airline spokesperson.
Officials with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) said the investigation began when they were approached by Visa, after the credit card company noticed "isolated" and "increased" instances of credit card fraud taking place at the airport, focused around the kiosks.
"Visa approached GTAA to say that they would like to take a look at how credit cards are used by people to identify themselves at our self-serve kiosks," said Scott Armstrong, a spokesperson for the GTAA.
In the past few years, traditional check-in has increasingly been replaced with 150 automated kiosks, which allow passengers to use passports, reservation numbers, frequent flyer cards, names and credit card numbers to get boarding passes and access to flights.
"In this case ... the cards were being used just for identification," said Armstrong. It was unclear if private information had been stolen or accessed.
In the meantime, Armstrong said, passengers still have several options at the kiosks, such as using their passports or simply typing in their names.
Armstrong said the GTAA has done an audit on the hardware of the kiosks, which falls under its mandate, but is not responsible for the software used to operate the machines.
"We have checked out our portion of it, and it is fine to the best of our knowledge," he said.
ARINC Inc., an international company involved in the kiosks' technology, said it was told yesterday the "self-service kiosks are only one part" of the investigation, said spokesperson Linda Hartwig.
"Any fraudulent activity could be coming from anywhere in the airport, so they (Visa) are diligently going through ... the airport, from the parking garage right through, doing an analysis and seeing if this is centred in any one place."
Visa spokesperson Melissa Cassar said she could not speak about the probe, which is in its early stages.
The RCMP said it is closely following the investigation, but is not involved at this stage.
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