With advances in technology allowing consumers to make purchases with smart phones apps — or another phone-activated bank scanners, stealing money from someone’s bank account or making charges on someone’s card is much easier. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which is a tiny computer chip tracked through radio frequency, is now being installed in debit and credit cards.
With these mini high-tech devices implanted in all cards to help with purchases, cardholders can become the victims of financial theft if the criminal is anywhere near the card — provided the card is not wrapped in aluminum or is secured in a specially made wallet. Thieves can steal bank account or payment information from picking up the frequency of the card and replicating it’s code.
If you own one of these cards, it is vital that you protect your identity so your credit does not get ruined and your money stays in your account. To properly protect your identity with a reputable company, you need Lifelock services because of the comprehensive coverage and guaranteed protection. It is always tricky to pick a protection plan, so be sure you pick a legit company that satisfies.
Request a Card Without RFID
This is not as easy as it sounds, but Tim Bryce of Palm Harbor Patch says if you call customer service and request a credit or debit card without RFID capabilities, they are required to issue an alternative card. However, Bryce says he is still having difficulty getting this accomplished.
Use an Alternative Card
If the company you are with cannot respect your wishes of not wanting an RFID chip in your bank card, it might be time to switch services to a company interested in protecting important information. Leave the RFID card at home and use it for making online purchases, if you are able to split your finances into more than one account.
Remove the Chip
Vandalizing the card may not be the most favored solution, especially for the card company that issued it, but it could be the only way to prevent a thief from being able to read the frequency of the chip and using that information to make illegal purchases.
How to Catch Criminals
There is very little you can do to prevent a criminal from using your credit or debit card if they get access to your information. If you have a sound service that alerts you of a strange purchase, or if you are the type of person who checks their bank accounts daily, you can catch criminal activity before it affects you. Many times, if a bank or monitoring service can catch odd credit activity early on, then they can stop a transaction from going through and you won’t suffer from the repercussions.
Taking these precautions and preventative measures can’t wipe out this type of crime completely, but it can reduce the number of affected victims and might encourage banks and other card companies to learn how to safeguard the chip implanted in their cards or cause them to remove the technology completely.
About the author: Jeffrey Evans is a writer and musician who is passionate about education. He mentors at-risk kids and helps them find resources to finance their college educations.