Electronic Pickpocketing Goes Viral

On Your Side
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(Memphis) It’s the latest viral video taking the internet by storm.

In the last three days more than 1.2 million people have watched on-line as WREG On Your Side Investigators exposed the threat of electronic pickpocketing.

Using a card reader bought on the internet for less than $100, our expert, Walt Augustinowicz, founder of Identity Stronghold, shows us how he could swipe credit card information from cards equipped with radio frequency identification technology, or RFID.

Maybe the only thing more incredible than how easily your information could be stolen is how quickly our video has become an internet phenomenon.

“When we first were looking at the numbers of people watching it and reading it, I actually had to double-click and double-check,” admitted George Brown, Web Content Manager for wreg.com. “I thought it was a mistake at first because it definitely sets a new record for the website.”

Since the story was posted on November 18, it’s been viewed 1.6 million times on wreg.com.

It’s been the most-viewed story for more than a week.

The ability of anyone with a card-reader to pick your pocket electronically has caught the attention of CBS news, and countless blogs worldwide.

So why the popularity?

The head of the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South says it speaks to how common identity theft is.

“Ten, eleven million people a year are victims of it,” explained Randy Hutchinson of the BBB. “A big part of this is fraudulent use of credit cards so I think anytime people get concerned a credit card could be used particularly when they have absolutely no clue.”

The BBB has never received a report of a contactless pay card being compromised.

Neither has the Identity Theft Resource Center.

But experts say our story is proof that you need to keep an eye on who’s using your credit.

“Crook are adept at exploiting and overcoming technology,” said Hutchinson. “So I couldn’t rule out that it could happen at some time.”

What the bad guys don’t realize is that we’re a step ahead of them.

We’re On Your Side.

“I think a lot more people are seeing that it’s not just a slogan,” explained Brown. “It’s something we actually are using, putting that information out there for people to protect themselves. its news you can use.”

There are a number of ways to protect yourself.

You can buy secure sleeves for your cards or specially-lined wallets.

Augustinowicz’s ID Stronghold, www.idstronghold.com, specializes in those products.

Aluminum foil will also block scanners.

Also, if you carry two cards with radio-frequency identification embedded in them, those signals will cancel each other, and protect you from electronic pickpockets.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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