Scaremongering and scams - CLC (UK) Limited
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How refreshing! Some reasoned logic rather than scaremongering.

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How refreshing! Some reasoned logic rather than scaremongering.

I recently read an article on one of the RFID forums rationalising the supposed threat of devices which allegedly are being used to scan your debit & credit as you meaner down the High Street or commute to work and from work.

To cut to the chase the article concludes that whilst this may be an element of this, most convictions relate to the theft of cards and the thief using it as much as possible for tap & go limited transactions before the user discovers their lost, reports it and get the card blocked

Having worked with RFID media for 20 years now I have seen a few scams & much scaremongering over the years.

About 3 years ago I attended the annual Trade Only Show in Coventry, U.K.

The exhibitors at this event essentially support the corporate gift market & prospective clients wonder around to see what’s hot and what’s not for the forthcoming season.

Amongst the plethora of pens, bags, diaries USB stick & office gizmo’s I came across a vendor selling the familiar credit card protector sleeves which were initially designed to shield debit and credit cards used for cashless payment. A cheap and ideal corporate gift if ever there was one.

The idea is that you place your debit & credit cards inside them and they cannot be erroneously read. As far as they go they do in fact fulfil this function albeit rather fiddly at the checkout or ATM!

Tip: Just put the card sleeve nearest outer side/s of your wallet or purse and place you cards on the inside of them rather than inside them as such.

You will get the same level of protection without having to extract and re-insert them every time into the sleeve & not hold up other people at the ATM or cashier.

Indeed this is potentially where the opportunist thief my strike & steal your card whilst you’re fumbling around with your card and sleeve!

Pre-lined blocker wallets are an extension of this principal albeit very expensive.

Mean-while, back at the Scam…….

This same vendor had ingeniously expanded the concept of card sleeves to protect the new RFID enabled passports with a larger carbon lined sleeve.

More-over he was able to “demonstrate” how they could be read with his own mobile phone! & true to form, he read his own passport, which revealed all his details including his photographic image to prospective buyers. A fairly conclusive demo one would imagine.

Needless to say, he was doing a roaring trade and he was taking orders left, right & centre & initially even I was briefly impressed as far as the conjuring act was concerned.

I applied some logic and asked myself  how can this be when all cash card and indeed passports use secure chip technology, complex algorithms & more?

It dawned upon me from my dealings with NFC (near field communication) & the abundance of NFC enabled mobile phones recent years & this is indeed was where the answer lay.

Ironically whilst these have essentially been developed to supersede debit & credit card and indeed the like of the Oyster card for “tap and pay” & they were by definition using the same ISO protocol ISO14443a but are also are able to read ISO15639 – which is a similar the standard as used in UK passports.

By using some of the free apps you can download, it very easily to access an image that you have previously taken, associated it with the tag UID on the passport, host the image there on the cloud & hey presto – upon scanning your phone to the passport it will replicate the image you took in advance!

BEWARE: Do to attempt to do this as you may well disable the functionality of your current passport!