Defense Against Crime

15/12/2011

Guard your credit cards while shopping

I remember a special report on MSNBC about portable credit card scanners. What should have you concerned is the addition of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology microchips to a growing number of consumer credit cards. The technology is better known as RFID, is widely used in security badges and toll-pay systems.

You may have seen the places where you can just wave your credit card near the scanner and it will pull the info from your credit card. This technology as been marketed as a time-saver for you. The special radio chips in the credit card allow customers to tap or wave their cards in front of scanners to pay for movie concessions, gas or even buy a cup of coffee without having to swipe the card or hand it to a cashier. Experts say more than 130 million RFID-enabled cards are currently in use in the United States. Perhaps you have one.

On the downside, every convent technology provided to honest people can be exploited by criminals. It as made electronic pick-pocketing possible. Security expert say that scammers can easily buy portable RFID readers and a battery pack for less than $100 on the Internet (see E-bay) and then connect them to a small laptop. The reader can pick up the information being broadcast from your cards, such as account numbers and expiration dates, from several inches away.

The thieves will move through crowded mall locations, or stand behind you in line, lifting your credit-card information out of your wallets and purses without having to lay a finger on them.

Armed with this information the criminal has several things they can do.

  1. Buy stuff and charge it to your credit card
  2. Make a Fake credit cards and sell them
  3. Sell your information on the black market.

Since you are still in possession of your card, you will not be aware your card information has been stolen.

Things you can do

 

  • Don’t get an RFID credit card.
  • We mindful of people carrying backpack in the mall and seemingly walking behind people, especially near their wallets of purses.
  • Check your credit cards on-line each week, and make sure the charges are yours. If not alert the issuing company of charges you did not make
  • There are RFID Blocking sleeves you can purchase to protect your cards.
  • For additional protection, stack all the RFID cards in your wallet next to each other. The RFID tags will interfere with each other and reduce readability.

     

     

     

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