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Electronic Pickpocketing: Tips to Protect Yourself

If a stranger accidentally brushed up against you, would you check your purse or pocket to make sure that your wallet was still there? Would you know if you were pickpocketed?Just when you think that you have taken every possible precaution to protect yourself from identity theft, something more villainous comes along. With advanced technology, we can accomplish some amazing things. However, criminals also use technological tricks to rob you blind. You consciously watch what you do when you go to an ATM and you try to be mindful of how you use your credit card online, through your mobile devices or over the telephone. Yet, criminals are managing to stay one step ahead of you in the high-tech game. Did you know that in a matter of seconds, someone could steal your debit or credit card identity without touching your wallet or handbag? How are they doing this? Through a method called radio frequency identification technology, or RFID. Never heard of it? Well, here’s how it works.

Radio Frequency Identification Technology is designed to make paying for a purchase easier and faster. This technology does not require a card to be swiped, because all it takes is a simple wave of your credit or debit card in front of a scanner. An electronic pickpocket or high-tech hijackers use a notepad-like scanner that could retrieve your personal information no more than a few inches away from you. It’s even possible for a pickpocket using a laptop with an antenna to quickly lift digital information from your wallet. The only thing they would need is your credit card number, expiration date and in some cases they could even retrieve your name. That’s it!So how do you equip yourself to be prepared to fight back? Cards containing RFID chips will have a frequency icon on the back. But don’t take chances even if there isn’t one on the back of your card. Do your research to find tactical ways to fight back against these electronic villains. While nothing is foolproof here are a few tips that advocates fighting this type of sophisticated electronic identity theft recommend to foil these dastardly fiends.1. Use a sleeve cover or shield designed to slide over your credit card or debit card. Check with your card issuer to see if they offer these sleeves.2. If you have two cards in your wallet containing RFID chips, it is less likely that the scanner will be able to read them. Multiple information could confuse the scanning process and the card information could cancel each other out.3. Use materials that would thwart radio frequencies. Experts recommend that a thin metalized nylon found in RFID shield wallets could work. In some cases, these wallets can be pricey though. It’s best to do your research on these, for cost efficiency and effectiveness first.

4. Put a little piece of aluminum foil in your wallet to inhibit the scanner from reading your card.5. Passports are also targeted. Having a secure sleeve designed to block RFID electronic pickpocketing and protect your valuable information is also a good idea.Bringing attention to this subject is not intended to make consumers more paranoid than they already are about high-tech hacking. It creates greater awareness about RFID and how it is used to invade, skim and steal personal information from unsuspecting victims. Abusing RFID is one of the latest crimes that creates privacy and security risks. Although manufacturers and those who issue radio frequency identification technology cards are adamant that these cards are encrypted and safe, you must still arm yourself with the knowledge and tools to fight these high-tech bandits destined to make your life miserable.