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Computer chip technology may put and end to identity theft

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rfid chip card retina scans computer security

Brace yourself for retina scans, chip implants and other gizmos that are already replacing plastic but are much more secure.

Consumers employed plastic in 52% of in-store transactions last year as debit card use surged and cash faded.

Your cards can be stolen, or the information off the magnetic stripe can be duplicated without your knowledge.

Those realities are leading some retailers and banks to look for payment methods that are a lot more secure.

A few experts predict plastic itself will someday be as obsolete as pieces of eight, replaced by everything from radio-frequency chips in cell phones to fingerprint scans.

A chip on your shoulder -- or arm Here's a small sampling of payment technologies already in use.

Cell phone users in South Korea can use their handheld devices to buy from vending machines and convenience stores, with the purchases deducted from their bank accounts.

The radio-frequency chips imbedded in the phones have security features that prevent thieves from breaking into the underlying accounts, and most transactions require the user to type a passcode into a special pad.

The FTC estimates 10 million Americans were victimized last year, while Gartner's studies showed 2 million bank accounts were raided.
(For tips on fighting back, read "10 ways to stop identity theft cold.")

Merchants increasingly bear the costs of fraud as credit card issuers "charge back" retailers for Internet or phone transactions where a signature isn't required.
Consumers, meanwhile, often pay with their time, as they try to straighten out trashed credit reports and get stolen money returned to their bank accounts.
I'm not going to let them implant a chip or scan my retinas (another "biometric" authentication process that gives most people the willies), but I wouldn't mind carrying a key fob that would make my accounts more secure.

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Saved by teshaestock62

on May 23, 16