(KLTV) - Embedded chips and radar capability in credit and debit cards are supposed to make the cards more secure and more convenient. Certain card technology allows the customer to tap or wave their card at the checkout counter, without requiring a pin number.
However, pocket-sized fraud devices exist on the market that can pull a person's card information, just by walking beside them.
Kaylen Burgess, community outreach specialist with the Better Business Bureau in East Texas, said identity thieves use pocket skimmers to pick up enough information to make a duplicate card.
"It can be someone sitting next to you on the bus, walking by you in the mall," said Burgess. "It's any kind of credit card with the radio frequency chip. Typically you can see it on the back of your card, it has the little wifi symbol."
Burgess offers several tips to safeguard against a lurking defrauder. Protective sleeves with RIFD protection, available for free at many financial institutions, help block electronic readers or 'skimmers'. Keeping a card in a wallet made of metal or even wrapping cards or cardholders in aluminum foil can keep the radar emitted information safe.
Burgess also recommends carrying fewer cards when in public.
"[Identity theft] is constantly changing and it is on the rise; last year there were more cases of identity theft, but there were fewer dollars [stolen]," said Burgess.
Walmart recently sued VISA for chip technology in cards. The retailer's lawsuit claims the latest chips are less secure than typing in a pin, and more expensive for merchants.
Not all cards with a chip have the radar frequency capability. Burgess recommended contacting your financial institution to determine which type of card you have, and requesting one without the chip if you have concerns.