The truth about RFID credit card fraud

Despite demonstrations to show it's possible, documented cases of RFID credit card fraud are unknown. And as security professionals know, there is a huge gulf between potential crime and actual crime.

I’ve written before about the non-existence of RFID credit card crime, a least as promoted by all the vendors selling anti-RFID shielding products. I’m one of the few voices consistently saying that buying RFID-blocking wallets, sleeves and the like is a waste of time and money. I’ve frequently said that I can’t find a single documented case of RFID credit card crime. Each time I write about this, I get tons of angry email from vendors of these products as well as people who “just know” that they have been victims of RFID credit card crime.

The “victims” who write me always talk about a mysterious man, acting strangely, who walked by with a visible device, which they strongly believed to be an RFID reader, and shortly thereafter their credit card has a fraudulent charge on it. I always reply that a “feeling” that RFID fraud happened isn’t evidence of an actual crime, and that I still, after years of searching, haven’t found a single law enforcement authority or document showing evidence of RFID credit card crime.

The latest batch of emails contained two better “proofs” of RFID crime that I hadn’t addressed before.

RFID car crime evidence

Proof number one was a video of thieves stealing a Mercedes-Benz. Although the video doesn’t show any evidence of the theft or how it happened, the accompanying or referenced news stories do claim the car was stolen wirelessly. Many Mercedes-Benz models use RFID wireless technology, which theoretically could be used to steal the car.

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