Given the number of credit card transactions that happen across the world each and every day, the technology behind the transfers is shockingly simple. That black stripe you see on the back of the card is the focal point of the transaction. The magic world we are looking for here is magstripe. Practically speaking, it is the black stripe on the back of the card. The stripe is actually a magnetic record of certain information that is read when you pursue a transaction. Given the serious cash being moved through plastic, the technology inbedded in the back of your cards must be very advanced right? Nope.
Invented in the 1970s, it is as antiquated as a computer from 1980 compared to a laptop today. As technology has advanced over the years, the technology has come on the market that can be used to tweak credit and ATM cards with ease. The device is known as a magstripe rewriter and it can be used to re-write your life. This is one bit of technology that does exactly what it says.
You use software to create a profile. You then run a charge card through the device by swiping it a couple times. Walla! You have a card loaded with whatever identity you want. To understand how a rewriter works, just think about the last time you opened a bank account.
When you were given the debit ATM card, the bank employee asked you to run the card through a device and type in your password. That is a version of the magstripe rewriter. Ironically, cash is king for identity thieves. Why? Well, they don't want to be tracked, so they don't buy credit card blanks.
Instead, they buy cash cards from banks with cash payment and then load your identity on those. At this point, the world is their oyster. They can pretty much shop and charge till they drop unless some observant clerk puts a kibosh on them. As you have probably noticed, most clerks are not particularly attuned to such things.
If it seem as though something should be done about this, it is very difficult. Every credit card would have to be changed as well as every machine that reads them in stores and so on. More than likely, the card will probaby be simply phased out.
Aazdak Alisimo writes about identity theft for ArticlesonIdentityTheft.com.