Identity Theft - New RFID Chip Gives Criminals New Access

Identity Theft Becomes Easier

Identity Theft has just become easier for a theft and he doesn’t even have to touch your credit card to obtain its information. The reason that thieves now have a new way to steal your credit card information is due to a radio wave frequency identification chip (RFID) on many credit cards. This way your card can be scanned instead of swiped.



RFID Chips

The government started adding these RFID chips to passports in 2006. While the technology might be easier for us it is also easier for criminals. All they have to do is spend $100 on a card reader that can be purchased on line and hook it to a small computer loaded with software to steal your information. Then, they just need to get close enough with their reader to your wallet to pick up the information and in a crowded shopping mall or a football game, probably no one would notice an individual that was getting close to one person after another. The thief could probably pick up hundreds of cards and the victims would have no way to know it happened until the cards were being used.

There is a very difficult for the police to track the criminal using this technology. We typically assume our information is secure when the card is in our wallet or purse. That’s not so anymore. There is a company that sells sleeves for credit cards that stops the reader from picking up the information. You could also wrap your cards in aluminum foil which stops the reader from working but that is not particularly convenient.

How do you know if your cards have the RFID symbol on them? Many have the Wi-Fi symbol like the symbol in the picture above. Nearly every card will have this symbol in the next few years.

NBC TV in Tyler Texas shows the dangers of RFID credit cards

Most common Theft of Identity

The most common way credit cards are copied is when they are given to another person despite this new technique.  When you pay for something, like in a restaurant, where your card is out of your sight it is best to use your debit card instead of a credit card.  That way if some money comes out of your checking account you have 30 days to contest it and you are more likely to know sooner than waiting until the credit card bill comes in the mail.

Loss of Privacy

Another aspect of these RFID chips that I don’t like is Wal-Mart, which is the nation’s largest retailer, has announced it will begin placing item level RFID tracking tags on clothing sold in its stores. They are insisting that these tags are put on removable labels rather than embedded in the clothing.  This sounds like a good idea for Wal-Mart to prevent theft of clothing and track inventory, however, it is the first step to the planned roll-out of the Internet of Things, where global corporations like IBM Proctor & Gamble, and Wall-mart‘s technology partner NCR plan to equip every product with a tracking device and use a network of RFID readers to Monitor and Observe YOU everywhere you go. 

Drivers License with RFID Chips

Washington and New York have already begun issuing driver’s licenses that contain radio-frequency tags with unique ID numbers to make border crossing easier frequent travelers.  Retailers could theoretically scan people’s ID’s without them knowing it quite easily and combine that with their credit card purchases, then next time they walk into the store the person’s identity will be instantly known.

Katherine Albrecht, founder of a group called Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering and author of a book called "Spychips" that argues against RFID technology.  She states the two things they don’t want to see is clothing tagged nor identity documents, which is exactly what is occurring.  There are corporate marketers who are very interested in tracking people as they walk. 

RFID Tags in Europe

In Europe some retailers put the smart labels on hang tags, which are then removed at checkout.  That way they have inventory control but it doesn’t give all of the information that some retailers  want such as being able to track the item all the way back to the manufacturer in case of a recall.  Other stores in the US, such as J. C. Penney and Bloomingdales have begun experiments with smart ID tags.

In Conclusion

I think this is a very scary trend. I understand that companies need inventory control and a way to cut down on thievery but they don't need my credit card information. Big Brother will have the ability to know where you and what you are doing all the time through your driver’s license and your credit cards. Marketers will know all about your credit cards and you will probably become a candidate for a barrage of items they wish to sell if you have excellent credit. This whole scenario makes me feel like we will be living under a magnifying glass. It seems to  throw our right to privacy right out the window. I can certainly go back to using cash and wrap the driver license in aluminum foil.

KMOV St Louis showing RFID credit card cloning

Opinion on RFID Chip Technology

Do you think having RFID chips is a good idea?

  • I think it is good as it will help stores cut down on theft and keep an accurate inventroy.
  • I understand why the chips are helpful but still feel it is an invasion of my privacy.
  • I am 100% against this trend.
See results without voting

The copyright to this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

Comments 46 comments

Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

It's gonna take a high govt. official's indentity theft before somethings done about it,thanks for the heads up,Pamela.;)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Mentalist Acer, I think that's true and why I feel so vulnerable about the future with this technology.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

What a scary trend. Thanks for alerting us to the dangers of RFID. It's just like opening our doors and inviting burglars to come help themselves. Voted useful.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Anginwu, That's how it feels to me. Thanks for your comments.

ghomefitness profile image

ghomefitness 5 years ago from Chicago,IL

Good info, that is scary stuff!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

ghomefitness, It is. Thanks for your comment.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California

Very useful information, scary, but useful nevertheless. I heard about the first part of this hub, concerning how thieves can swipe your card just by passing you by. However I never realized the extent to which this device can be used for good and bad. Very good information Pamela.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

FastFreta, I appreciate your remarks and it is good to see you stopping by.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

All crimes possible on earth, will be possible in cyberspace, if not more crimes, assures my gut feeling me daily. Just imagine this world with all those genius’ in crime with us in the light, serving others and not themselves.

Pamela, my gut feeling also tells me that your hub-library is a source of knowledge I need to check. I may know a lot about a lot, but I can assure you I don’t understand everything I know. You make it so easy for me to understand the latest and even oldest development... I’m in awe of you! I’m voting this UP and UP and UP!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Martie, My gut says about the same thing as yours. Technology is moving so fast there will be many things that happen which are impossible for us to know yet. Your comment to me is very touching and I enjoy your hubs as well. Thank you so much for your comments.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

This is truly appalling. I just had a comment on one of my hubs which said that chips are being put in articles purchased in certain stores so that they can trace where you are going once you leave the store. I had no idea that this practice was so extensive. Big Brother is alive and well. Voted up and useful.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Living in our advanced tech world just gets scarier and scarier, Pamela. Thank you for this intelligently written update. This news scares me more than Vlad Dracula! :)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

POP, If they have started using these RFID chips to this degree, what will it be like in 4 years? Yes, Big Brother is Alive and well. Thanks for your comment.

drbj, I agree with you on this being very scary. I don't want to be observed under a microscope. Thanks for your comment. Thanks for your comment.

Teddletonmr profile image

Teddletonmr 5 years ago from Midwest USA

Pamela99 Identity Theft - New RFID Chip Gives Criminals New Access is just the tip of the ice burgh. A knee jerk reaction if you will.

Like the events of 911 changed the world forever, so to technology now and in the days that follow. Some will be great and others will create unintended circumstances.

Be brave and stay safe. Mike

Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Wow, Pam this is unbelievable and creepy, not the leather of your wallet can protect your cards? What a nightmare, if it is not one thing to worry about it is another. It's like half the world is bad, and the other half is just trying to survive. Thank you for this information. Rate this up, great reseach my friend, peace & love darski

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Teddletonmr, I think you are right and the advances are happening so fast that they sometimes take us by surprise. I appreciate your comments.

Darsky, It certainly will mean that we will have to make changes in how many cards we carry, or do we need to protect them I sure don't want to buy clothing that has this chips sewn into the clothing. It is creepy. Thanks for your comments. Love and peace to you Darsky.

RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

Good Grief! The idea that marketers can track our footsteps from one store to wherever we go is chilling, and that they could have access to our credit card info, driver's license info as well - without our knowledge!

Big brother indeed - and all for the sake of targeted marketing!

Rated up and shared on FaceBook!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

What in the heck would we want to go with this technology for? Don't we have enough to worry about already? We just had someone get our bank card number somehow and charge a trip to the Caribbean on our card. Absolutely frightening - the card never left our house so I'm not sure how they got the number.

I'm for banning this bit of 'technology' - I think it will lead to criminology!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Red Elf, All for the sake of marketing is right. I hate this idea and it seems we ought to have some choices here. Thanks for your comment.

Audry, I'm sorry to hear about your bank card being stolen. It seems to happen to people all the time. I appreciate your comments and agree banning sounds good.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

When my bank was sold to Chase JP Morgan - I became a customer of Chase. I just checked my debit card and sure enough it has the chip. This is so we can "Blink" as they call it - just tap our card on the reader and go. Speed but no security. I would never want this feature and had no choice. My other banks and credit cards don't use it.

And then the readers are sold everywhere, what for? - I just read a woman stole $250. worth of scratch off lottery cards from her employer - but they were worth $21,000 because she used a reader to check which cards were winners. Well, I will never consider buying a scratch off card. And don't let money sit in this Chase account.

Unfortunately we have jumped on the technology bandwagon but with no safety measures. What a mess.

Thanks for such a useful hub. Rated up!

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

What a horrible world. Thank you for a brilliant hub.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

BK, Thanks for sharing that information. I have a Chase credit card and it has the mark also which I didn't know until I was researching this information. I appreciate your comments.

Hello, I agree. Thank you for your comment.

sagebrush_mama profile image

sagebrush_mama 5 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

I don't like this trend at all. I saw a segment about the readers the other day, and there was a metal sleeve recommended as a cover, to protect your information from being an alternative, the person being interviewed suggested using aluminum foil to wrap credit cards carrying this chip.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

sagebrush, Thanks so much for your comment.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Thanks much for sharing this information. Where can we buy the sleeves? What about a metal lined pouch for all the cards we carry? I know! Duct tape wallet instructions are available. Could we use the metallic Duct Tape? Or line one with aluminum foil? No laughing...we need to something until some smart manufacturer comes out with a solution.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

RTalloni, I'm not sure who sells the sleeves but will do a google search. Aluminum foil works. I'm not sure about duck tape and you would have to figure out a way it woudlnt' mess up your cards. I have looked at my cards and none of the store cards have the RFID mark. I found the mark on a Chase card. So maybe we don't have too many to protect as of yet. We do need to think about the future as this is going to become a bigger problem. Thanks so much for your comments. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

wilderness profile image

wilderness 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

You're right - a pretty scary thing that needs to be nipped in the bud. I'm checking my own cards immediately.

Thanks for the hub.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

wilderness, I checked mine and am very unhappy about this situation. Thanks so much for your comment.

rpalulis profile image

rpalulis 5 years ago from NY

This is crazy, makes me just want to live by cash and cash only.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

rpalulis, I had that same reaction when I was researching this information. Thank you for your comment.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA

Good information on the RFID radio chips. Your article is informative and useful.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Coolmon, Thank you so much for your comments.

Jennifer Lynch profile image

Jennifer Lynch 5 years ago from Stowmarket, Suffolk.

I would imagine wearing a rare earth magnet would protect you to a certain degree? or strap one around your the outside of your wallet?

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Jennifer, That sounds like it might work. Thanks for your comment.

Jennifer Lynch profile image

Jennifer Lynch 5 years ago from Stowmarket, Suffolk.

thanks for putting out this information because people need to wake up to what is going on. It is about privacy and human rights and both these things are being dwindled away partly because people are so compliant and think that easier is better! That is until we can't use cash any more no one can monitor cash so try using it instead. Or it will be anothr thing gone!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Jennifer, I was thinking the same thing about cash. I appreciate you excellent comments about this situation. Thanks.

frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

Wow! I did not know about the embedded clothing trend or driver's license. But, I have already hammer-smashed the wi-fi logo on my credit cards and it does NOT affect their use in any way. So, there, big brother! Wish I could do more.... :-(

Thanks for an informative and scary hub!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

frogfish, I never thought about smashing the wi-fy logo on the credit card. Big brother watching over us is a bit scary. Thanks for your comments.

monicamelendez profile image

monicamelendez 4 years ago from Salt Lake City

They can get a ton of information from your phone as well!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

monicamelendez, I really hate that thought and I treasure my privacy as much as the next person. I appreciate you comments.

joym7 profile image

joym7 3 years ago from United States

I always afraid of theft of identity through credit cards. This is most common and dangerous identity theft.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

joym, I agree. You hear such awful stories of the difficulties of undoing all the problems that occur when you have been a victim of identy theft. Thank you so much for your comments.

joym7 profile image

joym7 3 years ago from United States

Pamela99 I have added a new hub about identity theft trend which are happening or popular in 2013. check out and give your feedback..

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

joym, I would love to check it out as it seems the thieves are becoming more clever and I wrote this quite a while ago,

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Chase put one on my credit card as well. Thanks for the useful information in this hub. I will be sharing it, calling Chase to complain, and investing in a bit of tin foil just in case.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

FlourishAnyway, I have a Chase card with some insurance so they notify me of any larger purchase. I wrote this quite a while back, but you read about people being taken advantag of every day. Thanks for your comments.

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