Protect your bank card from electronic pickpockets
Published Tuesday, October 4, 2011 6:34PM PDT
Many banks are now issuing contactless credit cards embedded with a radio frequency chip, instead of entering a PIN code or signing a receipt. But that technology that conveniently lets you just wave the card at a terminal can make it easy for thieves to get your credit card information. The good news is there is a cheap and easy solution to protect your card.
Forensic investigator Ryan Purita showed CTV consumer reporter Lynda Steele just how easy it is to become an electronic pickpocket. Using a cheap and easy to obtain radio frequency reader, the security expert at Sherlock Forensics was able to snag credit card information from the card in a matter of seconds. Even Purita was surprised to discover how much information he could get with a cheap card reader.
Consumers CTV spoke to were shocked.
We called up Mike Bradley, Visa Canada's Head of Products to see what they had to say.
"The information that the fraudster is getting cannot be used to create a counterfeit PayWave card, and we've had no indications that anyone has created a counterfeit chip PayWave card," said Bradley.
Visa insists the new radio frequency cards are every bit as secure as the old ones, with several layers of security built in and consumers should feel very confident using them. But our security expert strongly disagrees saying the credit card data he got from consumers on the street was all a thief needs to start spending your money.
"So I can take the data I acquired in less than a second of scanning, and I can go actually replicate that to another blank card or even someone's existing card and then go out on a shopping spree," said Purita.
Many consumers Lynda spoke to said they were going straight to the bank to get their card exchanged with one that doesn't have a radio chip. But the banks that issue both Visa and MasterCard say that's not possible.
The good news is a simple protective sleeve can stop the radio frequency from being read by thieves. In fact, you can make a sleeve yourself for just pennies out of duct tape and tin foil.
If you're not that crafty or don't have the time to make a homemade version, there are companies that sell protective sleeves for your credit card, your driver's license, health card and passport. At chipblockers.com you can get 12 credit card sleeves and two for passport sleeves for about $20.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lynda Steele