Through technology, stealing is not anymore done physically. A thief can now virtually use other people’s credit cards, automated teller machine (ATM) cards, and debit cards to purchase products or avail services without the knowledge of the card holder. Surprise cardholders are devastated upon learning their credit card bills going up the roof for unauthorized charges, or their lifetime savings gone from their ATM or debit cards even if they did not use them.
This modus is called electronic pickpocketing. Modern plastic money cards today contain embedded radio frequency identification technology or RFID chips which contain account information such as the account number, and expiration date of the card. These data are picked up by point-of-sale (POS) machines (used by departments stores, boutiques, outlets, and shops) with RFID readers to complete transactions without the need for swiping or handling of the card.
RFID thieves maybe lurking everywhere — sitting down comfortably in the MRT/LRT stations, malls, business centers, and areas — where people come by bearing their money cards inside their wallets, bags and purses, unmindful and unaware that by that very moment, criminals are already gaining access of their bank and credit card accounts.
To prevent electronic pickpocketing and payment fraud, there are already plastic and leather sleeves and badge holders with RFID scan-blocking technology being sold in the international market. Unfortunately, it seem not locally sold yet. If you want one, you can have it shipped from abroad.
In the next days, I’ll see if I can get more information on how this modus operandi works in the Philippines but it is already rampant in the US and other countries. Better warn your family and friends working or living in those countries about this identity fraud. Be safe!
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