You Got the Wrong Man

by Nancy Bestor

rfidIn the last two years, I’ve twice had to close a credit card account, because I had charges on my statement that were not my own. The first were from a Home Depot in Savannah, Georgia, and the second for a $250 Little Tykes kitchen play set. I’ve never set foot in Savannah’s Home Depot, and my 16 and 18-year-old daughters are a little too old for Little Tykes kitchens. In both cases, after disputing the charges with my credit card company, I was able to get them removed from my bill, but I also had to close both accounts and have new cards issued. And all the companies I had set up for automatic billing with these cards had to be updated, a time consuming process.

I have no idea how my credit card number was compromised. Could it have been on the internet? Sure. But it also could have been one of the numerous times my card left my sight when I was paying a restaurant bill or for gasoline. It’s even possible my credit card information was surreptitiously scanned while the card was in my purse and wallet. However, while there is no simple way to determine where the theft occurred, I can take steps to prevent it from happening again.

I never write my full credit card number in an email. Instead I always call and provide credit card information over the phone. I also only make internet purchases when the site I am on offers a verifiable security encryption system. And, I now keep my credit card in a RFID blocking slip, which uses aluminum shielding to keep the information from being illegally scanned. To determine if your credit cards contain RFID chips and can therefore be remotely scanned, look on the card itself. If you see a wireless symbol or an RFID symbol the data stored on your card can be swiped. Keep in mind that any passports issued after 2006 can also be remotely scanned as well.

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