Contact-less Pick-Pocketing

By Alexandra Lue, Intern

Wireless technology has made life very convenient for people. I enjoy the comfort of setting my television to record my favorite TV show without being home or pay a toll without ever rolling down my car window, but a recent news report made me believe that wireless technology can be both a gift and a curse.  While we have all been utilizing the luxuries of a touch-less society, so have criminals. Pick-pocketing is retro. Now we have to be aware that we are possibly more vulnerable to thieves electronically pick-pocketing our personal information, as opposed to physically stealing our wallets.

Credit card companies are issuing more cards with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. A chip is placed in cards for customers to conveniently wave their card in front of a pay terminal. Have you ever seen the award-winning Mastercard commercial to advertise RFID technology? An elephant running errands waves his Paypass credit card in front of the pay terminal, so he can simply tap and go. While the elephant is a bit farfetched, you get the point.

There is a credit card reader that one can purchase for less than $100 which allows a crook to pass your back pocket or handbag and collect your personal information without ever coming into contact with you. It’s frightening that in a crowded mall, it will be nearly impossible to know who could be stealing your information.  As wireless technology grows, it seems like the negative uses for it are sustaining. We used to shred bank statements, and clinch our handbags as a precaution, but Experts suggest foil sleeves or metal wallets will protect you from being a victim to electronic pick-pocketing.

With any solution to a problem, arises a new problem. Although, the RFID technology speeds up the line in the grocery store, potentially exposing your account information to a thief is a snag. I think I will have to be old school for now and be that customer holding up the line to swipe my credit card.

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