How to Protect Yourself from Electronic PickpocketsPosted September 6, 2016 in Credit Card Tips
Pickpocketing has evolved over the years. Tried-and-true ways to stop thieves in the past such as money belts, secret pockets, and backpack stash spots, may no longer be enough. In the old days, the thief would need to steal your wallet in order to obtain your credit card information. How times have changed.
Thieves today can steal your credit card information without ever touching your wallet through the power of technology. Through skimming, a thief can clone your credit card while passing you in the street without you ever knowing it.
When it comes to fraud, there seems to be a never-ending game of cat and mouse between credit card companies and fraudsters. As credit card companies come out with new technologies, criminals come up with ways to overcome them.
Contactless payment like MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave use radio frequency identification (RFID) whereby your credit card information is sent via radio signals. “Electronic pickpocketing” takes place when fraudsters skim your credit card information. By using bootleg car readers, smartphone apps and blank cards, thieves can then use it to clone your card and make purchases in your name.
Fighting Back Against Fraudsters
There are simple, inexpensive non-high tech ways to protect your credit card information from being stolen from fraudsters.
- Download your bank’s purchase alert smartphone app to receive alerts via email and text. That way if your credit card information is stolen, you’ll be the first to know and can report it immediately.
- Don’t let your credit card out of sight. When you’re at a restaurant or a gas station, don’t let the server or attendant take the credit card into the back. Use the point of sale terminal in plain sight.
- Choose a good PIN. Fraudsters know which numbers to try first.
- Further protect your credit cards with smart-card protector sleeves and wallets. They can be cheaply purchased online starting at $10. Many of these protectors include aluminum foil to protect you from electronic pickpocketing.
- The simplest way to protect your credit card is by carrying more than one. When a fraudster tries to scan your wallet, the signals from other credit cards can cancel each other out, making it next to impossible to steal your credit card information.
The Bottom Line
Despite all the fraud warnings, credit cards are still the most secure and safest way to pay for goods and services. Most credit cards offer zero liability protection. Even if your credit card information is stolen by an electronic pickpocket, you more than likely won’t be held liable. But by doing what you can to protect your credit card information, you won’t worry about dealing with the headache of electronic pickpockets.