Electronic Pickpockets – Are you protected?

A couple of years ago, my wife was traveling through the airport in South Korea. She stopped at a local sandwich shop for some food between flights, and soon after her departure, one of her credit cards was used to make purchases without her knowledge.

Somehow her credit card information was stolen from her even though the card was in her possession the entire time. I suspect she was a victim of a credit card pickpocket.

Modern credit cards are commonly imbedded with Radio Frequency Identification Devices that contain personal information of the owner.

 We did not lose any money, as upon discovery, the credit card company immediately voided the charges, cancelled the card, and promptly provided a replacement.

We now keep all our credit cards inside RFID protected sleeves. They are inexpensive, easily purchased online, and provide an extra layer of security for all of our RFID enabled credit cards. Since most modern passports also are RFID enabled, we keep ours in shielded passport wallets also.

Although RFID theft is not rampant, it does exist. We find it easier to take a small precaution and have a little more peace of mind, than to fall victim to unscrupulous electronic pickpockets.  

The author of this article is Robert Molinary, a retired aerospace technician that lives in Pranburi Thailand with his wife.

Editor’s Note: A simple internet search will reveal opinions which state that “RFID wallets, sleeves and clothing are security snake oil. You don’t need RFID protection because there is no RFID crime.” 

In response our guest writer adds “I’ve read a couple of articles on the counter point of needing RFID protection, but have decided to err on the side of caution. Very few establishments in the United States use the RFID readers for purchasing products.

The use of the technology is much more prevalent in Asia thereby increasing the possibility of nefarious use of the readers. Having been the likely victim of this crime, combined with the affordability of protecting my cards and passports, I have chosen to be better safe than sorry.”