Electronic pickpocketing or skimming, is a form of cybercrime where thieves use specialized equipment to wirelessly steal personal information from RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) -enabled cards, such as credit cards, debit cards, passports, or access cards. These cards have embedded RFID chips that transmit data wirelessly, allowing for convenient contactless transactions. However, this technology also makes them vulnerable to electronic pickpocketing.
Here's how electronic pickpocketing works:
Thieves use scanning devices, such as card readers or smartphone apps, to intercept the signals emitted by these cards. When the scanning device comes into close proximity to the RFID-enabled card, it captures the data stored on the card's chip. This data can include credit card numbers, expiration dates, passport information, and more.
To avoid electronic pickpocketing, consider the following precautions:
1) Leave your passport and valuables in the hotel safe.
2) Use RFID-Blocking Wallets or Card Holders: Specialized wallets, card holders, and passport covers with RFID-blocking technology are designed to shield your cards and documents from unauthorized scanning. These products contain materials that block RFID signals and prevent data theft.
3) Enable Card Deactivation: Some RFID-enabled cards, such as credit or debit cards, may have the option to enable and disable the RFID/NFC functionality. Contact your card issuer to inquire about this feature and turn it off if you don't need it.
4) Keep Cards Separate: Avoid carrying multiple RFID-enabled cards together in the same wallet or holder. This can reduce the risk of thieves scanning multiple cards simultaneously.
5) Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Be cautious in crowded or public places where thieves might attempt electronic pickpocketing. Keep your cards and documents secure and be mindful of anyone who gets too close to you.
6) Monitor Your Accounts: Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions. If you suspect any fraudulent activity, report it to your bank or card issuer immediately.
While electronic pickpocketing is a concern, it's important to note that the risk is relatively low compared to other forms of card and identity theft. Taking basic precautions can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to this type of crime.