Credit Infocenter

Are You Protected Against RFID Chip Credit Card Scams?

February 23rd, 2011 · 3 Comments · Credit Cards

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: February 26, 2018)

It may be quicker than paying with cash, but saving a couple of minutes at the register doesn’t seem worth the risk you take with RFID chip credit card technology. So if you have an RFID chip card, or are contemplating the offer from your credit card company, weigh the pros and cons. And if you decide to go with the chipped card, protect yourself accordingly.

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. Cashiers can use a credit card reader to quickly scan the information contained in your credit card’s RFID chip. But a credit card scammer could just as easily use one of these readers to access your card’s information directly from your wallet.

Anyone can purchase a credit card reader online for no more than a hundred bucks. Then they need only get close enough to your wallet for the scanner to read the contents of your chipped card.

Unfortunately, if you are a victim of credit card fraud, it’s pretty much impossible to know whether it was RFID fraud unless the thief is caught in the act. And it’s not as though thieves are looking for a needle in a haystack with RFID chip credit cards. They’re quite common, with an estimated 75 million RFID cards in circulation in the U.S. alone. As banks continue pushing this technology, we’ll surely see that number grow.

How can you tell if yours is a card with an RFID chip? It should have a symbol of three curved, wavy lines in one corner of the card (i.e., “radio waves”). If you’re still not sure, simply contact your credit card company and ask.

Speaking of questions for your credit card company, why aren’t protective sleeves for RFID chip credit cards automatically issued to customers? They do exist and cost just a few dollars.

As reported by Corpus Christi’s Action 10 News, “Credit card companies say they have security that would prevent electronic pick-pocketing from becoming widespread.” (Though it’s not clear what that “security” might be.) “And that customers are also protected, because the Zero Liability Policies give customers full refunds when they become victims of fraud.” Still, it seems customers and lenders would be better served by investing a nominal fee in a protective sleeve that, more often than not, should be 100 percent effective.

You can purchase an RFID chip credit card protective sleeve online, or you can apparently make one yourself out of aluminum foil.

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Ms. Springer

    Credit Card companies SAY that there is zero liability for fraud. However, I reported fraud to my credit card company and they did credit the charges back to me, THEN later recharged them when the fraudulent company supplied nothing more than the top portion of a webpage form with my name on it. There was no additional information, just my name. This is NOT fraud protection.

  • Meredith Simonds

    Wow, Ms. Springer. That is disturbing.

  • TechStreem

    Here’s a solution!

    Get the best deal on a special card technology that blocks RFID scanner through your wallet!
    Also serves other purposes!!

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