Electronic Pickpocketing: Reality or Fiction? A New Credit Card Scam

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There have been some alarming reports circulating recently about security problems with contactless, or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), cards. Encoded within the chip are confidential account details such as the account number and expiry date. The reporter was able to use the device to scan contactless cards remotely from people’s wallets, pockets and bags, and display their account details on its screen.

Information he was able to steal included the card issuer name, customer account number, card expiry date and customer name. Imagine a fraudster armed with this card reader, at a football match, for example. Some older contactless cards may hold a scannable customer name, but not the later editions. Either way, account number and expiry date, with or without a customer name, is insufficient data to create an illegal cloned card.

Contactless card providers are constantly striving to ensure their customers are safe from fraud, and the latest cards emit their data in an encrypted format.

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