Criminals are always finding new ways to defraud hardworking people, but one Denver couple is still trying to make sense of how a fraudster stole their credit card information without ever even seeing or touching the card itself.
According to local Denver affiliate 9 News, Mykala Minges and her husband had just left the Cherry Creek Mall when they received a fraud alert text from their bank notifying them of a suspicious charge for $423.57 made at Bed Bath and Beyond, which is directly adjacent to the mall.
The couple was puzzled and concerned by the alert. Not only had they not visited Bed Bath and Beyond that day, but the credit card was still in Minges’s husband’s pocket.
As it turns out, a thief is presumed to have stolen the credit card information by using a radio frequency identification device (RFID) that can scan the magnetic strip on the back of the card.
Minges said she thinks the thief targeted the couple while they were watching their kids in the children’s play area. Her husband leaves his wallet in his back pocket, and cyber experts say that a quick scan is all it takes for a thief to obtain credit card information.
“You have to assume the thief just walked on by and scanned my husband’s pocket — there is no other way this could have happened,” said Minges. “He purchased two gift cards, $200 each, a flag and some stickers to make it look legit.”
Credit card fraud is a rampant problem that has drastic effects on thousands of Americans every single year. Credit fraud losses incurred by card issuers, merchants, and acquirers reached a whopping $16.31 billion in 2014, up 19% from 2013. For the fourth year in a row, fraud losses outpaced growth in total card volume.
To combat this national crisis, banks have developed a new type of credit card that is designed to prevent all types of fraud, including what happened to Minges and her husband. According to CNN, consumers have begun receiving new credit cards containing unique microchips that make fraud nearly impossible.
Despite the supposed security enhancements, issuance of the new cards has already led to several instances of fraud. Scammers have been taking advantage of the grace period while the new cards are delivered by sending emails that appear to be from the issuing bank. These emails request personal information like account numbers and PINs, which they claim are necessary to process the new cards.
Minges and her husband filed a report with the Denver Police Department. Investigators are looking through surveillance video from the children’s play area and Bed Bath and Beyond to identify the thief.