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FOX 5 I-Team investigates

New credit card technology not invincible

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ATLANTA -

Many of us have a new technology in our wallets and we don't even know it.  But what you don't know can hurt you. There is a chip in many new credit cards that makes it easier for you to pay without taking it out of your wallet.

There are risks involved.  If you have a card with the new chip, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Credit card companies will tell you that the new technology adds a layer of security. It may, but as the I-Team found out, it is not invincible.

Walt Augustinowicz of IDENTITY STRONGHOLD tested the cards of several people, and told them that the card had the new chip technology embedded in them. Most did not know that their card carried the chip.

The chip transmits a radio frequency so that you can pay for a purchase by waving your card.  The card reader just picks up the signal.  But at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport the I-Team found out not just retailers can pick up the signal. Hidden inside Walt Augustoniwizc's iPad case was an encoder bought from the Internet.

With it, he swiped the wallets of several people and quickly had the credit card numbers for an entire family.

Airport traveler Lejla Krdzalic called the demonstration "scary."
 
Law professor David Ryden gave a lecture on technology and privacy in Atlanta, and found out from the I-Team that he has it too.

"I think we're going to have a little chat on Tuesday of next week about personal examples. It's a little unsettling," said Ryden.

Visa declined to comment on their RFID technology, but Mastecard directed the I-Team to their blog where they call the type of information that we uncovered "scare tactics."  Mastercard also writes that even if you get someone's card information it's "extremely difficult" to make a "counterfeit card."

That did not deter the I-Team; they were able to clone their own card. They put their credit card information on a hotel room key, the kind with a magnetic strip. The I-Team ended up buying lunch on the cloned card.

"It could be your mass transit card, your hotel room key card. You could even put it on another credit card," said Augustinowicz.

Augustinowizc's company sells sleeves that block the card's signal so it's more difficult to clone.  Everyone the I-Team talked to would have preferred their credit card company had told them first.

Many, like Ryden, said they'd prefer not to have it.  

"I'll tell my wife. She'll be all over it.  She won't take it sitting down. She'll make the call," said Ryden.

Another variation of this technology comes in new cell phones. It allows you to wave and pay with your phone, but the signal can be intercepted by a virus that could be on your phone or by a third party who wants to eavesdrop.  Viruses on phones are a growing problem.

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