Thieves can steal credit card info while it is still in your wallet

Thieves can steal credit card info while it is still in your wallet

RCMP North Vancouver

Thieves now have the capabilities to steal your credit card information without laying a hand on your wallet.

These days more and more cards in our wallet are ‘chip cards’. This technology is known as Radio Frequency Identification or RFID and uses radio waves to identify people or objects. RFID technology is in most of our credit cards these days as well as an enhanced BC drivers license. Passport Canada will be issuing passports with RFID technology by the end of 2012.

RFID technology claims to make financial transactions easier and faster. However, it is so much easier that identity thieves are reading your credit cards before you even take them out of your wallet. Where credit card “skimming” used to require the thief to get their hands on your card, acquiring your personal data is now as easy as passing you on the street or in a store. RFID electronic readers are used by businesses when you purchase with your chip credit cards. Credit card companies say it keeps your identity safer, because your card is never in the hands of a stranger. The electronic readers include safety features to keep your data from being intercepted once it has been read from your card.

The problem is that these electronic readers can now be freely purchased and attached to a laptop or cell phone with very little technical knowledge required. By simply walking past you, a person with a card reader acquires your credit card number, expiration date and more.

“You can purchase shielding privacy sleeves and wallets to protect your credit cards from being scanned, hence protecting your personal information,” said Cpl. Richard De Jong, spokesperson for the North Vancouver RCMP. “These inexpensive items block the radio signals needed to read the information contained on your RFID cards. Our officers have not investigated an offence directly related to RFID, but we are aware the technology exists, and are advising the public of the potential.”