RFID credit card may be vulnerable to scam

Ker-chunk, ker-chunk. Those over age 35 will remember that as what paying with a credit card once sounded like. This was back when merchants used a giant contraption to take an imprint of your card. In addition to requiring some serious muscle power on the part of the checkout person, this process also was time consuming.

Today, however, cashiers barely have time to greet customers before they wave a card past the contactless scanner and head on their way. But like most things in today’s fast-paced world, there’s a tradeoff for speed.

Contactless cards owe their efficiency to the use of a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip, but this same technology also makes them vulnerable to thieves. Criminals could, with inexpensive equipment and from just a few inches away, skim your card information.

That could lead to fraudulent charges in a one-time transaction. The technology makes it unlikely that thieves could use the information multiple times.

Because it’s doubtful we’ll be seeing the old ker-chunk, ker-chunk machine make a comeback, below are some tips and links to help you stay protected from this type of theft.

How do I know if I have an RFID credit card?
A symbol like the one in the photo above may be imprinted on your credit card. Also, terms like PayPass® (MasterCard), payWave® (Visa), or BLINK® (Chase) are good indicators you have an RFID chip.

How can I prevent RFID credit card theft?
The most secure method is to ask your bank to give you a card without RFID technology. Alternatively, you can buy protective credit card sleeves — or even wrap your card in tinfoil.

Though criminals need to stand in close proximity to steal your RFID signal, it’s easy to become a victim of this scam. For more information, view a video at http://bit.ly/QSRf5U or an article at http://bit.ly/W3adwh.