South Bend police warn of digital pickpocketing

NOW: South Bend police warn of digital pickpocketing


Digital pickpocketing may have made its way to Michiana.

Over the weekend, a Plymouth woman said she was a victim of digital pickpocketer at the Blueberry Festival. Now, police are sharing tips with the public that can keep the bank accounts safe and secure.

The woman took to Facebook to tell her story, hoping to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else. The post reads:

            "Beware! Anyone that went to the blueberry over the weekend look at your bank             statements. I found 2 small transactions one for 20.00 and one for 40.00 done by a digital pickpocket. I didn't even use my card there they did it scanning my bag!!"

Festival officials said they are aware of her complaint and are urging her to file a police report.

Over 400,000 people came out to Plymouth’s Blueberry Festival – events being the perfect playground for digital thieves.

“If you’re at a festival, your kids soccer game, especially at a Notre Dame game where there’s going to be hundreds, if not, thousands of people around you just be aware of what going on,” Ken Garcia, digital communication and media liaison for SBPD.

SBPD said digital pickpocketing can happen when you’re just centimeters next to someone.

Modern-day smart phones equipped with NFC capability or "near field communication" can be turned into wireless skimming devices.

Certain credit cards contain RFID tags embedded directly into the card. Radio frequency identification are essentially an antenna and memory chip embedded inside small tags or cards.

“It’s emitting a signal, basically that’s what your credit card is doing,” Garcia said.

Allowing people to tap instead of swipe or insert a chip to make purchases. Technology made to make purchasing easier, may action make some people a possible target for thieves.

“They can use smartphones, walk by your pocket, scan that because it’s emitting a frequency and boom they have the information off the card,” Garcia said.

SBPD suggest people leave the debit and credit cards at home when attending events with large crowds.

“The best thing you can do is don’t bring those cards with you and bring cash,” said Garcia.

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