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The risks of new technology

RFID theft pictureThe Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has heard reports of smart phone technology that can steal credit card information

New technology in credit cards and pieces of identification may put the user at risk. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is used on passports and some credit cards to increase convenience. However, Sgt. Marc Charron, who is also the manager of the Joint Forces Organization for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says the technology has also become an interest to criminals.

"Although flash payment technology has made transactions and identification processing faster and more convenient, obviously some hacker has managed to skim that information from the credit card using one of those scanners or RFID readers," he said.

He says with the increase of retailers using the scanners, there has become a black market for them.

"The prevalence of these readers has led to a black market where thieves can purchase and attach these same scanners to a laptop or cell phone with very little technical logic required," he said.

Smart phone technology may also be aiding those involved in fraud, as Charron notes they've received reports of iPhone apps that can be used to retrieve information from RFID technology. Charron says information necessary to make a credit card purchase can be taken by thieves, simply by being in close proximity to the card holder.

"They can acquire your credit card number, the expiration date and the security code, and the CVD, which is the little code on the card, by being close to you," he said.

He notes one way to avoid becoming a victim of these types of theft is to simply keep all of your cards together.

"If you're cards are all together, it's a lot hard for the machine to read a specific card. That would be one way to do it, to keep all of your cards together in your wallet in a safe place,' he said.

As always, cardholders are advised to ensure they keep their pin code to themselves. If someone finds that there are unauthorized purchases made with their credit card, they're asked to contact their financial institution, who will look into the incident. Victims of fraud should also contact their local police, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

For more information:
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

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