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HSBC uses Bluetooth for drive-by marketing

HSBC is using Bluetooth short range wireless technology to send marketing messages to people walking past some of its London branches.

The Mail on Sunday reported that the bank is using a Bluetooth server at both its Canary Wharf and Regent Street branches to send the messages.

If passers by have the Bluetooth mode of their mobile phone switched on, they can be “discovered” by the bank’s server.

They can then be sent a message asking them if they want further information to be sent on an offer.

The messages can also be sent to people inside the branches. Bluetooth has a standard range of around 10 metres, but this can be boosted with additional technology.

HSBC is currently trialling its system, but it is up against security concerns about Bluetooth.

Just last week, financial adviser Grant Thornton warned users to switch off their Bluetooth facility when it wasn’t in use, as it could be used by “drive by” hackers to steal personal information from their devices or to make free calls.

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