When I think of pickpocketers, I am immediately transported to a cobbled Victorian street littered with Charles Dickens style characters. But I really need a swift reality check because pickpocketers have moved on, and are very much alive and well in 2016 – they’ve just had a technological face-lift.
Gone are the days of pickpocketers purely focussing on stealing your wallet. The ‘teched-up’ pickpocketer of 2016 simply brushes past you, armed with a special scanner, and before you know it – your ‘tap and go’ enabled credit or debit card has been charged. Scary, isn’t it!
Many Aussie experts believe digital pickpocketing is on the rise down under with the latest research from Armourcard showing that Aussies could be losing as much as $439 million a year to tech-savvy thieves. The study, which focussed on a group of 1000 Australians, found that 14% of all Aussies have either been affected themselves or know someone who has been a victim of electronic skimming.
And unfortunately, for good living citizens like you and I, the technology required for these digital pickpocketers is super cheap and accessible. This new wave of cybercrims simply require an RFID scanner – about $100 from an electronics store – or an NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled smartphone (most current smartphones) and a free app which can easily turn their phone into a digital pickpocketing device.
So, what can we do to keep our cards and bank accounts safe?
Firstly, you could elect NOT to have a ‘tap and go’ enabled card. Remember you don’t always have to follow the crowd.
Secondly, some tech experts believe if you have more than one ‘tap and go’ enabled card in your wallet, it will confuse the readings from the chips making it virtually impossible for the scanner to read them! Clear message – stock up on cards.
And finally, a very simple solution – carry a piece of aluminium foil in your wallet. It appears to prevent the digital pickpocketers from getting access to your chip. But if you would something a little classier, maybe consider investing in an aluminium wallet. There are some very stylish options available in Australia from companies such as these.
So, don’t stop spending – the economy will suffer! Just be mindful of this possible threat and ensure you pop a roll of alfoil into your trolley when you next do a shop!
Till Next Time