Credit Card RFID chips - User Beware
Depending on your level of "Techno knowledge", this may be of interest to some of you
Recently both my Bro-In-Law and I encountered a credit card compromise. Meaning somehow - someone - got our card number and started running fraudulent charges. Yes, we got the charges reversed, but that also required - a visit to the bank - issuing a brand new card - the inability to use/have the card for several days.... etc etc..... a RPITA. The really "odd" thing in MY case was I'd never even used the card, and it was locked in my safe since I received it. What the Heck?
So While ''Goggling'' card theft issues, AND the RFID problem, I came up with this nice article:
The "normal" method of stealing your card's info would be for the theif to just stand in line at a retail store, and position the "reader" to within a few inches of the victim's hip pocket (or purse).
B U T -
The one thing that has struck "me", is the fact that BOTH of "our" cards were apparently compromised within a couple of weeks of it being sent (a recent industry wide move to newer UPDATED cards with the chip). MY card was in my Safe and had never been used!. This suggests (to me) that if anyone in the path of the Credit card envelope's transit from card company to "you" has a RFID "skimmer", then the card could easily be compromised long before you even GOT it.
WHY THE CREDIT CARD COMPANY DOESN'T SHIELD THE CARD IN THE ENVELOPE IS BEYOND ME. !!!
The (Devious) theory is simple.... (Say, you are a Postal Employee). You just skim the card while "in the mails". You could be a mail sorter, mail handler in the PO Building or even the actual "carrier". These envelopes really "stand out" once you know what you're looking for, and if you feel one, you immediately know where the card is located in the envelope.
Once skimmed, just sit back and wait a couple of weeks for the recipient to "activate the card". Probably, most people activate the card the day they get it..... so once activated, the "Skimmed" card will also work, and viola, credit card theft. And the card has never really left your possession.... Duhhhhaaaa
How easy is it to find something to skim/steal card's????
Just go to Ebayyyyy
ONE way of preventing the "in the mail" theft is unless you are going to use your card immediately, delay as long as possible the "Activation". Anyone that has stolen that number can't use it (until activated) and eventually those numbers will fall off the "list", and you will end up being safer than using immediate activation.
WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON METHOD OF STEALING YOUR CARD'S NUMBERS? Handing your card to a waiter in a restaurant, bar, Drive through fast food windows, or any type of establishment where your card can be "out of your sight"... if only for a "moment". TRUST NOOO ONE. The smart phone skimmers are so easy to use that a theif can simply glide the card over his belt mounted device while walking to the payout. I have a "golden rule", never - ever - give someone my card unless I'm directly in sight of it all the time. I Physically take my bill and card to the "pay out" register, and have been known to accompany the waiter TO the card terminal. The minute I see them swipe my card, I reach out and "ask" for my card back. Personally, I usually pay cash whenever possible for such transactions. I would never ever pass my card to a window waiter at McDonalds or Burger King (etc).
FINAL SUGGESTION - If you want to simply get rid of the RFID enabled credit card but not the account, call the credit card company and demand they issue you a card that does not have the microchip inside.
If you don't want to (or can't) do that.... just take a 6-8 inch strip of duct tape, and affix tinfoil to it. (Tinfoil is too flimsy by itself). Cut it to match your billfold dimensions, and put it in your wallet like paper money. When the billfold is folded, the foil covers both sides of the card(s) and will block all the cards in your wallet, and a skimmer, and do it as effectively as any of those "as seen on tv" blockers. MOST of these chips operate on about 13.5 MHZ, which in the radio spectrum, is very very low frequency. Tin foil will do an admirable job of blocking the "Reader" even when it's right next to your hip pocket. To Test it, just try to use your card while in the billfold and see if it still works.