SEOUL, Feb.23 (Korea Bizwire) – A picture of a man’s hand holding a mobile phone shaped device that resembles a POS (point of sale) terminal, also known as a credit card machine, created a great buzz on the internet. The user who uploaded the picture on Facebook captioned the photo as a new way of pick-pocketing in Russia.
Whether or not ‘electronic pick-pocketing’ in Russia is true, current technology development shows more than enough potential for that type of crime to occur. Prevention in necessary in case actual damages happen.
As the picture spread through the internet, concerns about this new electronic pick-pocketing also spread with it. Internet users all over the world were also debating whether electronic pick-pocketing could actually be possible.
Some commented that electronic pick-pocketing is actually happening, and claimed that they have been victims. Stories of similar crimes were shared among internet users. One user claimed that a thief pulled out a credit card machine and demanded that he run his card through it when he said he had no cash.
However, others argue that a credit card machine cannot be used without a license. Some commented that since many people receive text messages from their card companies when their cards are used, ‘electronic pick-pocketing’ is difficult to carry out without the victim noticing.
However, credit cards embedded with wireless chips can complete payments without actually having to be swiped – simply being close to the card reader is sufficient. The RFID chips embedded inside passports also contain personal information.
Credit cards and passports with electronic chips inside have continuously been identified as being vulnerable to skimming. Many cases in which personal information was stolen from ATM machines have been reported in the past.
Contactless smart cards do not require a signature for transactions involving small sums of money. Therefore, even if electronic pick-pocketing were to be possible, the loss would not be great. However, if numerous small transactions were processed, victims could face serious damage.
As the usage of contactless smart cards is expanding, fear is also spreading among users.
A simple suggestion to prevent electronic pick-pocketing is to wrap one’s credit card with aluminum foil. Also, special wallets that block RFID frequencies are available.
Getting text messages right after a credit card is used also helps prevent unwanted payments from occurring. When text message alerts notify you of a sum of money you do not recall spending, the incident should be reported right away to avoid damages.
By M.H.Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)