As you are all probably aware by now you can pay for items in local shops using ‘Contact-less’ payment methods. There used to be a limit of €15 but over the past couple of months this has been upped to €30. Contact-less payment is very convenient and it only takes a few seconds for payments to be processed thus reducing queues at the tills.
But there is a dark side to this technology. It has recently given rise to a new breed of criminal ‘digital pickpockets’. These criminals have been found in train stations, shopping centres and even night clubs, basically anywhere where large amount of people gather. They come armed with technology that can effortlessly steal credit and debit card details without so much as touching you or your wallet/handbag.
Standing just six inches (15cm) away, these criminals use radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers to harvest bank details in a practice known as ‘digital skimming’. Upon capturing (or ‘harvesting’) this data, one is then able to program other cards to respond in an identical fashion (‘cloning’). In some cases these Digital Pickpockets can actually take payments on the fly while walking from one person to another. Many websites on the net today are dedicated to teaching people how to do this, as well as supplying the necessary equipment and software. Apps can be very easily be download from the net and run on your phone which can scan a card in a couple of seconds.
How do I know if my credit card is RFID enabled?
While some credit cards, such as certain versions of the American Express Blue Card, actually have a visible RFID chip, most do not. Many are marked with the RFID signal, which consists of four nested curved lines, much like the symbol for Wi-Fi wireless networking as seen in the example image on the right.
How can I protect my card?
Your credit cards can be protected from RFID skimmers by being wrapped in tin foil or being kept in special foil-lined wallets. Obviously this can be awkward and inconvenient but there is a solution. By simply using a special credit card sleeve you can reduce or even eliminate the signal from your card preventing theft from your account.
Here at FlexiWeb we always got your back! We have some credit card sleeves here at the office which we will give away FREE to anyone who calls up to us. Simply arrive at reception and ring our extension. I will personally pop down and give you a free sleeve (limited stock).
Sources: Wikipedia , Daily Mail.