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Credit Card Fraud and RFID Skimming

February 20, 2024 Posted In Fraud

Credit card fraud and RFID skimming are two types of illegal transactions in which a non-authorized user accesses another person’s credit card account and uses it in some way. Understanding these two types of acts is essential for anyone charged with a crime since the consequences in either case can be severe. The Atlanta credit card fraud attorney at Wallack Law can assist in your case.

What Is RFID Skimming?

Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a type of technology that uses radio waves to identify objects and people. This type of wireless communication method can be used by a credit card. That is, some credit cards are RFID-enabled, which often means they have a chip in them. That chip allows for contactless payments – a way of paying without swiping the card but tapping it on the device.

RFID skimming occurs when another device can read RFID chips and steal the payment information from them. There is a significant fear that this will be a common problem as contactless payment continues to grow in popularity. The reality is it can happen and does happen.

How Common Is Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud is any unauthorized use of another person’s credit card or credit account. Statista reports that between 2020 and 2021, more than $30 billion worth of credit card fraud occurred around the world, with $12 billion of that occurring in the U.S. It is a threat and a growing one since those figures represent a 10% increase from 2018 alone.

How Does Credit Card Fraud Happen?

Credit card fraud occurs in several ways. The most common method is simply the use of a stolen credit card. This may occur in person with one person using another person’s card, or it can occur through online transactions. Another method is card-not-present fraud, which occurs when someone else gains access to another party’s credit card information without actually taking the card. RFID skimming can fall into this category.

Skimming can also occur without the use of an RFID chip. This method involves the placement of an electronic device in a legitimate card reader. This may be done at a bank ATM or in a retailer’s credit card reader. It is easily concealed there. This allows the skimming device to capture the information from the card that can then be electronically submitted to other people.

Card cloning is another method of credit card fraud in which credit card information is stolen. In this method, a skimmer captures the information from a person’s credit card – such as when they swipe their card to make a purchase, transmits that information to the person, and then that person creates a very authentic-looking credit card to use for purchases.

All of these methods of credit card fraud typically involve significant financial loss to victims and credit card issuers. When they occur, the investigation will often entail determining who stole the information and who used the other party’s credit card information without authorization to do so. Both are punishable offenses under U.S. law and can result in fines and jail time.