RFID Card Protection. Do You Need It?
RFID Blocking: What is it?
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification Devices. Today they are found in passports and credit cards as wafer-thin chips to help speed up transactions. They store and transmit your account information plus personal details. So where does RFID blocking come in?
Handheld scanners (which thieves can easily come by) can read these chips through wallets and clothing up to several feet away. Think of it as electronic pickpocketing or identity theft. Newly issued credit cards, passports, and other IDs have embedded RFID chips.
Identity theft via RFID readers is growing. You can protect your personal data with the use of RFID blocking credit card sleeves, wallets and RFID blocking passport covers. These items contain a metal fibre mesh that makes a “cage” around the chip that radio waves cannot penetrate.
Credit and identification cards now have RFID technology embedded into them. Most newly issued Passports have RFID chips in them. The chip contains all the data that is on the first page of your passport including your photo. Even your driver’s license can have an RFID chip.
In short, RFID chips embedded in various cards and passports contain information that is conveyed via radio waves. It makes for quicker transactions or transits because it allows scanners to pick up the information with less physical interaction.
How does RFID work?
RFID, Radio Frequency Identification, is the technology that lets you simply wave your credit or identification card, passport or license in front of a nearby scanner instead of having to slide the magnetic stripe through it. The electronic scanner sends a signal which is received by an antenna embedded into the card, which is connected to the card’s RFID chip, thus activating it. Unfortunately, criminals with minimal technical skills can construct their own RFID readers with a few simple supplies.
These devices can steal your private financial information quickly and silently, all the perpetrator needs to do is come near your wallet with the hidden card reader. You wouldn’t know it at all.
Does my card have an RFID chip?
The easiest way to see if you have an RFID chip in your card is to see if there’s an RFID symbol on there. It looks like the icon below.
The absence of a symbol, however, does not mean that your card does not have an RFID chip—call the customer service number on the back of your card to verify if your card is RFID chipped.
So, do you need RFID protection?
The real answer to this is it depends. If you don’t have an RFID credit card, you still may have RFID in work ID or smart passport. Whether you want to protect the information on these it is your call.
If you’re at low risk, or simply don’t use anything that has RFID in it, then you probably don’t need RFID protection.
For low-risk people that still have cards, passports, or ID you’d prefer to keep under wraps, then investing in some protection could be worth that extra peace of mind to know you’re covered.
If you travel a lot and want to make sure your personal information in your passport is secure, then it’s well worth getting a credit card sleeve and a passport wallet with blocking technology built-in.
RFID Credit Card Sleeves is a convenient way of protecting your credit card information. Each sleeve features RFID shielding technology, which reduces the likelihood of someone accessing the personal data stored on your credit cards.