Electronic Pickpocketing Target Credit Cards With Radio Chip

Tuesday, December 14th 2010, 5:23 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- There are so many ways a thief can steal your identity and they come up with new ideas all the time.

Now, they can steal your credit card information without ever touching the card. It's all done electronically.

It's possible because of radio frequency identification chips, or RFID. Many credit cards have them so you can just scan your card rather than swipe it.

It's the same technology that lets people use a key fob to open the door. Even the government has been putting the chips in our passports since 2006.

Its technology that makes life more convenient for us, easier for the criminals to use and harder for cops to track.

All it takes is a $100 card reader you can buy online hooked to a small computer, loaded with free software for a high-tech thief to steal the information you count on being secure.

Even if your credit cards are in your purse or wallet, the thief just has to get close enough with the reader to have all he needs to go shopping on your time.

There is a company that sells protective sleeves for credit cards. Once inside the sleeves, the cards can no longer be read by a thief.

Identity Stronghold

Just imagine the damage a thief could do in a crowded area like the fair or a ballgame. They could get the information from hundreds of cards and victims wouldn't know it until the damage was done.

And, there's no real way to investigate or track them down. no fingerprints, no paper trail, nothing.

"There will be no way for us to know who compromised your card," said Tulsa Police Fraud Detective Cheryl Compton.

How do you know if your credit card has RFID? Many of them have a little Wi-Fi symbol on them.

In a few years, nearly every credit card issued will have a chip. This type of technology makes it tough to be a detective.

"Anything they make, there's gonna be a way for the bad guy to get a hold of it. Just like the new ID's and driver's licenses, they said no one will be able to counterfeit them," Compton said.

There's been no confirmed case of this type of theft yet, but, as police say, it could've happened, but there's no way to know.

You can wrap your cards in aluminum foil. it will do the trick, although it's not too convenient.

Despite this new threat, you're still more likely for someone to copy your card when you pay for something.

So, if your card has to walk away from you, like in a restaurant, don't use your debit card, use a credit card.

That way, it's not coming straight out of your checking account and you have 30 days to contest any false charges with your credit card company.