Some credit cards contain Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) chips that enable the “tap to pay” feature on credit terminals for faster payment. Unfortunately, they also open up a new avenue of identity theft.
— Michael (@MikeTolmie) July 24, 2018
This video demonstrates just how easy it is to skim the RFID chip found in most credit cards today. In the video, the “attacker” uses a common wireless card scanner but in the real world, there are people who will use much smaller pocket sized equipment to read your cards from your pocket just by “accidentally” bumping into you while in line or in crowded places. An attack I’ve been made aware of is to ask someone for gas money at the pump, and when they accept, joyfully hug them and use the opportunity of close contact to read RFID chips from cards in their pocket.
This attack is ingenious because with pickpocketing, you can be caught stealing from someone much easier because you have to actively take something from them. Putting your hands into someone’s pocket is much more noticeable than bumping into them. With RFID scanning attacks, the attacker causes much less of a nuisance and is therefore much less noticeable.