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Theives using new technology

ALBANY -- Ripped off in a flash.  Thieves are finding ways to use new technology many of us have in our wallets to steal money and information -- in seconds -- without even taking our wallets!

RFID, short for Radio Frequency Identification, is supposed to make your life simpler.  But, it's believed the technology will increase tenfold in the next three years.  RFID isn't just in credit cards, and you may not even know you're carrying it in your wallet.

In the game of a wireless world, keep your cards close.  The joker of the deck -- RFID.

When asked how a person would know if they had RFID on a card, Larry Zimbler, President and CEO of Liberteks, Inc. said, "you're really not because there are going to be very small devices that are hidden."

It can be built in to your cards, so instead of swiping one to pay at the store, you can wave it past a reader. Sometimes, you see a logo to show RFID works on this card.

We're not telling people how to do this, but there are videos readily available online that hackers know about.  They can buy readers online and take your information without even touching your card.  Some cell phones will have a chip so you can use it like a credit card.  Your E-Z Pass tag works on RFID. Do you drive through it with a car that doesn't turn on with an old-fashioned key?  It works by RFID, too.

"Someone could literally walk by you with a device, scan your key, and copy it," Zimbler said. "You don't even need to take the physical key anymore." 

It's also possible that the card many of us use to get in to our work places every day can open the door for hackers to take personal information about you.  "What could be on there is your name, your home address, your social security number, your pay could be on there," Zimbler said.

"I actually used to have one of those cards to get in to my old job, but I never knew what was really on there," Amanda Deluke said.  "I just thought oh it's letting me in to work it's just a key."

The technology is convenient, but it is as easy to protect yourself.  Simple tin foil around your cards keeps that information close.  But we found a man who took it one step further than that.  He keeps his cards in an aluminum wallet.

"For a ten dollar investment it might save you hundreds of thousands of dollars of credit swiping down the road," said Ricardo Brown.

If you're going out, only take the cards you need for your trip -- so you can limit how much you could lose to the card players.  RFID is cheap to make and efficient to use, and experts say it's staying at the table.

It's up to you to decide how much of this technology you want in your life.  If you don't want a credit card with RFID on it, just call your card company.  Meanwhile, many more stores are using RFID tags in merchandise to track inventory and even at check-out terminals.

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