Electronic Pickpocketing

Pick-pocketing ordinarily is a form of larceny that involves the stealing of money or valuables from the pocket of a victim without them observing the theft at that particular time. We want to talk about electronic pick-pocketing, the electronic form of pick-pocketing especially the money aspect and how it can be stopped.

Electronic Pick-pocketing is a form of pick-pocketing aided by the advancement in technology. It is the 21st-century version of a delinquency that has been from ages past. Electronic pick-pocketing also known as digital pick-pocketing is a growing concern in a world where cashless transactions are becoming the norm.
In the past, an electronic pick-pickpocket might use his hand dexterously or create a diversion to slip into the night with his victim’s credit card information. Today, they can take the unsuspecting victim unawares by simply passing beside them in a stadium parking lot, bus station, restaurant, elevator, mall or airport with a concealed credit card RFID reader in tow.

How does this electronic pick-pocketing work? On the surface, the concept of not necessarily using wires to steal credit or debit card information evokes pictures from science fiction films of the 1990s, but the real entity is far less nostalgic.  A larcener can hang out in a teeming subway station and acquire thousands of credit card numbers in just one afternoon. You don’t have to take your credit card out of your purse or wallet in order for an electronic pick-pocket to steal your money, and even when the theft is happening, you probably won’t even know about it. This is possible through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that normally facilitates convenient touchless purchases up to $25 in the United States and around the world, but can also enable a thief to steal credit card information and make purchases like a regular credit or debit card. Criminals are now able to secretly use a Radio Frequency Identification or “RFID” credit card reader. They may have it in a handbag, a professional-looking binder or even in an iPad cover. They make everything look so natural that the victim will not suspect anything fishy going on.

The criminals take advantage of wireless technology that allows them to “skim” away from certain aspects of credit cards built with radio frequency identification technology. It could happen while the victim is walking down the sidewalk, pumping fuel at a gas station, or paying for his meal at a restaurant. The victim’s debit or credit card could be equipped with a very small radio antenna and computer chip, which are used to send his account information from the card to another electronic device. With this, they can swipe money away from the victim’s debit card.

The information from these cards can be used to make a fake credit card, which would allow identity thieves to make unauthorized purchases with the cloned credit card. The skimmers can buy the needed equipment online for about a hundred dollars. With an electronic card reader in their hands, thieves can simply connect the device to a computer to see a skimmed card’s account number, its expiration date, and other security details. With that, account data can be transmitted between a crook’s card reader and your credit card from just a few inches away.

How to know if your credit card is equipped with RFID technology? It is good to hear that determining whether or not your credit cards are RFID-tagged is not rocket science.  Simply check the card for the presence of the Universal Contactless Card Symbol.  It looks almost like a Wi-Fi signal widget, knocked on its side, or more specifically, like a classic radio broadcast frequency wave.

RFID technology can also be spotted in:

  • Pet Micro chipping
  • Rental Cars
  • Access Cards (building entry, parking lots, house gates, etc)
  • Inventory control and loss prevention for retail establishments
  • DVD Rental Kiosks
  • Toll tags
  • Runner’s Bibs for Races
  • Event Passes (such as concerts or conferences)
  • Medical Bracelets (e.g. Alzheimer’s patients)

How to avoid being electronically pick-pocketed: The threat of the growing trend in electronic pick-pocketing all over the world is enough reason to take preventative measures. Protecting yourself from electronic pick-pocketing is very easy provided you are smart and alert.  Being that the criminals can steal your confidential information without touching your card with their hands, you too can stop them from doing so without approaching or touching them. Firstly, making the decision of not buying an RFID blocking wallet as soon as possible is an unwise one. Conceal Plus manufactures wallets, sleeves, and other accessories for credit cards that actually block RFID scanner waves. They are affordable, reliable, and used by everybody ranging from cautious consumers to the United States Government.