What is RFID? And how is it a danger to you?
Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is supposedly very secure, yet as you can see in the above clip, all it takes is a computer and a credit card reader that costs you less than $100 and you can commit credit card fraud without your victim even knowing that they’ve got your credit card number. Cards like American Express have RFID, and if you have an automatic payment system like PayPass where you just hold your credit or debit card up to a reader, then you’ve got an RFID chip as well.
In another demonstration, PC World documented a case where for just $350 worth of equipment, someone could not only clone a credit card, but then send a payment to themselves using a Square Card Reader. Though not every card contains RFID, more and more people are getting these payment options and identity thieves have an upper hand on this new technology. Even though many RFID cards transmit a unique CVV on each scan to prevent credit fraud from occurring, a sad fact is that many retailers don’t require the CVV to run a purchase.
In 2005, an RFID chip was able to be read from 69 feet! An identity thief doesn’t have to get very close to you to be able to get the information they need from you. All of this begs a singular question: if you’ve got an RFID credit or debit card, what are some ways that you can protect yourself from transmitting your card information to whomever has a scanner?
Simple Products That Protect Your Information
One of the easiest ways you can protect your cards is with a simple sleeve. If you look for card sleeves that block the RFID frequency, you’ll want to look for US Government approved products that act as an electromagnetically opaque shield.
These sleeves are thin enough to still allow your card to fit in your wallet, but their lining actually deters any rogue scanners from picking up the radio signal from your smart cards.If you don’t like the idea of a card sleeve because you use your card a lot or you’ve got a tight wallet that just won’t allow the card and the sleeve to sit properly, then another easy way to protect your information from RFID scanners is with a wallet that blocks the RFID signal. If you travel internationally, you can even pick up a passport style wallet that will protect your passport ID chip. These wallets are nice because they are built like traditional wallets, can be made of fake or real leather depending on how much you wish to spend, and as long as your cards and information stay in it, you don’t have to worry about an RFID scanner ever again.If you are a business person on the go and you utilize an organizer to keep track of everything from your money to the notes from the latest sales meeting, then an organizer that blocks RFID transmissions might just be right for you.
These organizers are highly affordable and will protect everything you have that could transmit crucial data to thieves with a reader. If you’re like me when it comes to business, I tend to leave my organizer behind a locked door or on the table during a sales presentation. An identity thief who knows my habits and that I keep information in that binder can wait until I’m gone and scan my smart cards while they’re behind a locked door. If you use an organizer and you have RFID smart chips, you’ll want to pick up one of these.
If You Have an RFID Card or Passport, You Need Protection!
From clutches to purses to simple wallets, there are plenty of products that are available to you today that can help protect your valuable information from the technologically equipped identity thief. A small investment is really all it takes to be able adequately protect yourself against accidentally broadcasting your credit or debit card information to a willing and waiting identity thief. Be sure to find a product today that blocks your smart card signals so that you don’t find the terrible surprise of an identity theft incident awaiting you on your next financial statement!