Call 4 Action
New risks of RFID chips
MILWAUKEE - Could the radio frequency ID chips in your credit card put you at risk of identity theft or fraud?
What are these chips and how are criminals using them to steal our identity or commit fraud?
Radio frequency ID chips are found in everything from credit cards, gas cards, building access cards, and even passports.
They are used to store encrypted information so that we can quickly pay for purchases, get through a locked door, or clear customs without having to fumble with a pulling cards or additional information from our wallets.
The potential problem is that criminals can now use card readers to access this personal information wirelessly - right through our purse, wallet, or clothing.
How big of a risk is this?
Not all cards have these chips. Check the card to see if it says express pay, pay pass, or has an area with wavy lines.
If you do not see this, you may not have an RFID chip in the card.
However, there are conflicting thoughts about the risk.
Some believe that the risk is small because a criminal would be limited in the number of transactions that could be performed.
They would need additional information in order to use what they had gained from the hack.
Others believe that the encryption is easy to hack and that the information could be transferred to a blank card, allowing unlimited transactions until the fraud has been reported.
What can we do to stay protected?
Some experts say that if you have items with radio frequency ID chips, you can block the information by using protective card holders or wrapping the cards in aluminum foil or metal.
You can also contact your card issuer to see if they can issue a card without the chip.
Most importantly, if you do not need the card at the moment, do not carry it with you.