What is e-pickpocketing?
Firstly, let us look at the origins of the species so to speak. Pick pocketing is a crime that has been with society for hundreds of years. Put simply, it involves lifting an item of value from inside a persons clothing; and most importantly without their knowledge of the theft at the time. The act of pick pocketing requires considerable skill, dexterity and often the ability to misdirect the attention of others that might otherwise seek to alert the victim.
One only has to think of fictional pickpockets such as those that appear within the pages of Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist to get a feel for how such crimes are choreographed. Technology has moved on since the days of Oliver Twist, and for the modern day criminal there is now a new tool at their disposal – an RFID skimmer.
Electronic pickpockets, or the ‘e-pickpocket’ make claims that such devices can be adapted to remotely scan the data from ‘contactless’ bank cards. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips, or tags as these are more commonly known, are now being added to bank cards, travel passes and door entry systems; with the hope that in doing so customer experiences will be improved.
Is this threat of an ‘e-pickpocket’ crime real or just hype?
This site provides those that are interested in learning more with links to a 2010 video by ID Stronghold and a more recent offering from Channel 4 News that was arguably at the heart of this sensational phenomenon. In ‘The Electronic Pickpocket 2010’, Walt Augustinowicz (owner of ID Stronghold) is filmed walking through a busy high street in the USA; skimming information from ‘contactless’ bank cards carried by different people that he passes by. Using a specially adapted RFID skimmer, Mr Augustinowicz claims that he is able to access his ‘victims’ credit card details without even making physical contact. Armed with the data he has mined from the persons’ RFID enabled device, our e-pickpocket then claims that this is sufficient to make a purchase and have goods delivered as per a legitimate e-banking transaction.
a.) Watch the 2010 ID Stronghold video here > (click here)
b.) Watch the 2012 Channel 4 News video here > (click here)
c.) Buy RFID shielding / anti-skim sleeves for your bank cards > (click here)
Learn more about e-pickpocketing, establish if you are at risk > (click here)
Tell your family and friends now!!!