It’s true, thieves can steal your credit card information without ever seeing or touching your credit card. They can get your name, your card number, and the expiry/expiration date in less than 5 seconds and you’d never know it until they’ve maxed out your card or your bank gives you a call to check the purchases.
If your card has a radio wave symbol on it, you are vulnerable to electronic pickpockets. The information the thieves get is enough to make purchases and it’s a pretty gut-wrenching feeling when you get your statement from your credit company saying you owe them thousands.
How can thieves steal your credit card number information?
Theives are getting cleverer these days and they are getting their hands on some pretty sophisticated technology like skimmers and scanners are making it easier for them too.
You probably already know that thieves can get your credit/payment card information from ATM’s or gas stations using small devices that they stick over the legitimate credit card swipe slot. It’s called a credit card skimmer. This device reads, copies and saves the card details then the thief decides how best to take your money. And they’ve got a few options.
They can also use a scanner to scan and copy your credit card information. You could be walking down the street or in a store and a thief could scan and save your credit card information. All they need to do is download a piece of software that turns their phone or a tablet into a scanning device.
So, once they’ve got your card details what do they do with them?
Here’s how they can make money from the information they’ve stolen from you.
- They can download the information onto a legitimate-looking cloned card and use it to buy stuff as if it was the real card.
- They can sell it. In the US credit card, information can be bought for anywhere between $5 and $100 a pop. The more information the thief manages to get the more valuable the card is. This is the type of info you can buy on the dark web, (apparently) more info here.
- Use it to buy stuff online. Don’t they need your CVV number to do that, I hear you cry? Nope, Amazon doesn’t ask for one. And the thieves will know of other online retailers for sure too.
It would seem to be very profitable, so it’s no wonder skimming and scamming is on the rise. Watch this video to see a scanner in action
So, what can you do about it?
The simplest way when it comes to skimmers is to not give your card over to anyone to make a payment for you and to check the credit card slot before you slide your card in. Usually, that’s enough to keep your money safe.
As for protecting your credit card information against scanners, there’s a simple solution for that too. Put your cards inside an RFID blocking wallet or sleeve. These blockers and wallets work by reducing/shielding your card information from being transmitted to the card reader/scanner keeping your details safe.
RFID wallets and sleeves are cheap, just a couple of pounds or dollars, and you can get them off of Amazon, eBay and a ton of other places online. So, do yourself a favor and get your cards protected.
For more detailed information on skimmers and RFID protection.