This article was written by Michigan State Trooper Mike Sura, who answers questions about Michigan law each week in his regular "Ask the Trooper" column.
This information comes to me from the Hamburg Senior Center, where I was recently invited to give a presentation on identity theft. In our discussions, I was asked if I had heard of credit card numbers being stolen with just the use of a wand.
I know Halloween will soon be here, but when I heard this, I couldn’t believe it was even possible. Seriously a wand waves over your back pocket and shazam, someone has stolen your credit card number without your wallet even leaving your pocket. After doing some research I have found that it is possible to steal to credit card information in this manner.
Credit card companies have recently come out with a “paypass” system to identity cards. These are “contactless cards.” The cards use radio frequency identification, or RFID chip. An RFID card can generally be identified by four curved lines on the front of the credit card. According to an industry newsletter there are approximately 35 million RFID cards in service.
The manner in which credit card thieves steal this information is to connect a battery powered card reader to netbook type device which is concealed in another container such as a briefcase or backpack. The thief then carries the container close to a person’s purse or pocket, where contactless cards might be carried. The information is captured from the credit card, stored on the thief’s computer and the thief uses the information to clone a credit card.
I know what you’re thinking, what can I do to protect myself. Financial institutions do provide card covers that protect against the RFID signals being scanned. Consumers also can ask for cards that do not have an RFID device. A wallet lined with aluminum foil and duct tape may also help prevent against a thief scanning the signal from a card.
The most important thing people should do is always be aware of their surroundings. Trust your instincts if someone or something doesn’t seem right, you may be correct and you should take appropriate action to protect yourself and your identity.
Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer
Fall has arrived and it seems the white tail deer are on the move again. Drivers should be prepared for the possibility of deer crossing the roadway. A few suggestions to help drivers and passengers in their vehicles survive a car deer crash.
Everybody in a vehicle should be wearing their seatbelt and drivers need to stay alert especially at dawn and dusk. Drivers, do not swerve out of a lane to avoid a deer. Instead brake firmly and in a straight line. It is usually safer to hit the deer then to run off the road or strike another vehicle.
“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try” – President John F. Kennedy.
If you have a questions or comments please email them to email@example.com, or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police – Brighton Post, 4337 Buno Road, Brighton, MI 48116.