Pickpockets going high tech

Photo Source: WTOL
Photo Source: WTOL

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Thieves trying to steal your private financial information are putting a new twist on an old crime.

Pickpockets are going high tech. Technology is allowing thieves to steal the private numbers from your credit cards right out of your pocket, without ever reaching in.

Identity theft expert Walt Augustinowicz says it's easy.

"If I'm walking through a crowd, I get near people's back pocket and their wallet. I just need to be this close to it and there's my credit card and expiration date on the screen."

He can do this armed with a credit card reader he bought for less than $100 online. Augustinowicz can also steal your credit or debit card information with just a netbook computer.

While harder to hack, all US passports issued since 2006 contain the same radio frequency technology, that can be read, and then swiped.

"It gives me a lot of personal information like your date of birth [and] your photo if I wanted to make some sort of ID," Augustinowicz warns.

Computer security expert Mark Gillenson says people need to beware.

"I think people do need to be concerned and do need to be aware and we'll see if this becomes a major problem."

Credit card information can be protected by storing your card in a secure sleeve to block the scanners. There are also specially lined wallets available online.

A cheap fix involves wrapping your card in aluminum foil. It works just as well at  preventing thefts.

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