HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A Connecticut woman had her credit card information swiped without the cards ever leaving her side. The newest way thieves steal your credit card information; they take it right out of the air. It’s called digital pick-pocketing and all they need is a cell phone app and a simple computer hack, and thieves can access your bank account with that card.
It happened to Tracy Costantiello on a flight from Connecticut to Florida. “I was sitting next to a gentleman striking up a conversation. He was showing me pictures of his son, the stewardess comes by, and we order cocktails. I take my debit card out to pay, next thing I know, my bank account is drained,” said Costantiello.
There is a small radio chip in many credit and debit cards that admits a frequency up to 6 inches away from your card. We’re not talking about the new security chip added to cards recently, but this one has been in place for years. Thieves discovering the flaw in the card, but Michael Maclean of Kaplan Computers, says keep in mind the cell phone or scanning device has to be within 6 inches of your purse, wallet or card, and that’s how they get your money.
“All of a sudden, you have no money in your bank account. Or all of a sudden, there are purchases there that you’re not aware of on your credit card. The best way to circumvent this would be to buy a device that shields this type of hack,” said Maclean.
They do make small credit card pouches that can shield the cards, or you can wrap them in aluminum foil if you’re heading into a high traffic area where you might be more vulnerable.