Pickpockets sound familiar… But there is something new called digital pickpockets…
Technological developments were designed to make our life more convenient and easier. But today they have been hijacked and are used against us. Digital Pickpockets or Electronic Pickpockets are example to such. These pockets can steal your money, without your debit or credit card ever leaving your side. Though we get smarter using RFID technology that facilitates convenient purchases , it also enables a thief to steal credit card info and make purchase like a regular debit or credit card.
Radio Frequency Identification or “RFID” is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. A tag can be read from up to several feet away and does not need to be within direct line-of-sight of the reader to be tracked. Any card having RFID for example, office ID, debit , credit card etc liable to suffer from digital or electronic pickpockets..
RFID technology can also be found in:
- Pet Microchipping
- Toll Tags
- Access Cards (building entry, parking garages, apartment gates, etc)
- Inventory control and loss prevention for retail establishments
- DVD Rental Kiosks
- Rental Cars
- Runner’s Bibs for Races
- Event Passes (such as concerts or conferences)
- Medical Bracelets (e.g. Alzheimer’s patients)
Here’s how digital pickpocketing works. First, the thief constructs a wireless RFID reader. With the right apps and updates, many Android phones can serve the purpose. Next, the thief runs their software and waits for the reader to come into a range of an RFID-enabled credit card, a process sometimes called RFID skimming. Most credit cards in the U.S. don’t have RFID chips, but for the ones that do, readers within range can pick up the wireless signals transmitted when that card is being used to make a transaction. The thief could be the person immediately behind you in line, sitting on a nearby bench, or pretending to shop a few yards away.
Some card machines in shops, cafes and restaurants need to be connected to a landline terminal to work. More advanced devices are common across the country and use GPRS to make a connection – allowing merchants to take card payments almost anywhere. If a thief had one of these GPRS-enabled machines, they would be able to ‘skim’ victims’ contactless cards almost anywhere, without them knowing
The newest smartphones are making it easy for thieves to steal and use stolen credit cards. Since they are “NFC” or Near Field Communications enabled. NFC is form of RFID technology that takes advantage of both transmitting and receiving data via the smartphone. NFC enabled phones have the ability to read the data on microchip credit card. The swiping of credit cards while purchasing also increase the chances…
These are the steps that be can taken to protect ourselves…:-
- Special wallets that use aluminum foil can block these radio frequency signals, but the threat remains very real… Make it a habit to review your credit card and bank statements at least once a month.
- Get in touch with your credit card issuers to find out whether your cards have the RFID chips. If so replace it immediately. Avoid credit cards with Radio Frequency Identification chips as they could be susceptible to digital pickpocketing. If you see any unusual transactions, contact your Credit Card Company or bank. Hack proof jeans and blazers are on their way to keep digital information safer… Anyways taking precautions is better….
- Now a days most of our railway / metro cards are RFID cards, therefore its very easy to swipe and go. The main risk in this card are they can easily copy or create a duplicate card and use it.
Your encoded personal identifying information, including the card holder’s name, address, Social Security Number, phone number, and pertinent account or employee information or everything that is stored is captured and can be misused .. So next time be very careful when You step out with your RFID card in your pockets.