It used to be that only when your credit card was actually stolen, or your computer was hacked, thieves would be able to use your data for ill-gotten gain. This is still the case, but thieves are adapting to new technology to slip undetected under the radar.

Would you believe they can gain your credit and debit card information without even seeing or laying a finger on your card?

It's kind of like a "digital pick-pocketing." Criminals are using RFID readers, or radio-frequency identification readers to grab your personal information right out of thin air.

Alarmingly, an RFID Reader can be downloaded as a simple app for a smartphone. They are suppose to be used to detect certain bar codes and scans in warehouses and department stores, but data thieves have figured out that when used in busy shopping centers, and in close proximity to a potential victim, they can clear you bank account within minutes.

However, there are ways to protect yourself from potential thieves. You can wrap your wallet or line your purse in tin foil - but this seems to be a hassle - and perhaps looks a little silly.

Danny V

Or, RFID proof wallets and purses have become more popular, such as the one pictured. It looks like a normal wallet, but is lined with RFID blocking material. This one costs around $20 and well worth the piece of mind.

There is also an uptick in digital skimmers on ATM's and gas pumps. According to our news gathering partner KDLT, one Sioux Falls couple had their bank account completely drained after they suspected a local gas pump had an illegal skimmer installed by data thieves.

It's wise to look for anything unusual anyplace you swipe your card. If something doesn't look right, don't swipe. Also, check your bank statements everyday. Most banks now have apps that can give you real-time updates on card activity.


See Also: