Protect Your Credit Card

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 4:22pm

Check out the new, high-tech way thieves can get your credit card number with just a simple wave of their hand.

It’s how we get through the SunPass lanes, how we get into a secure building, and hos we pay at checkouts. It’s called Radio Frequency Identification Technology or RFID. It’s a chip like this one which communicates using radio waves in credit and debit cards with this logo on it, making it faster and easier to make purchases, but also making it easier for thieves to steal your information.

Detective Ricardo Arias says “as a criminal, what you can do is walk by someone if you have an RFID reader and you can scan the data that’s in there.”
Detective Ricardo Arias is part of the Miami Electronic Crime Task Force with the U.S. Secret Service. He says it takes two pieces of technology for thieves to steal your information: a card scanner which can be found on-line for as little as $20 and hacking software that breaks the encryption on the credit cards. That software is also available on-line.

U.S. Passports issued after 2006 also have an RFID chip embedded inside the back cover. FIU engineering professor Faisal Kaleen says if your passport falls into the wrong hands, it can be passed around the world within minutes.
While some experts say there have not been any cases involving RFID technology, other say that’s because it’s untraceable.

An expert says “how would you? It’s nameless, it’s faceless. The best thing we can do is to know about it. You are less likely to fall victim to scams or to some of the latest technology if you’re aware of it and if you take steps to utilize some of that same technology to protect yourself.”

While there have been no reported cases in south Florida yet, it’s still smart to make sure you’re protected. Passport and credit card sleeves along with wallets can cases are available on-line and claim to protect your personal information from being hacked. We’ve posted some of those links on our website We’ve also posted four major credit card companies’ responses to the RFID technology.

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