What Are RFID Blocking Wallets and Why You Need One
What Are RFID Blocking Wallets
What in the world are RFID blocking wallets that we keep hearing about? RFID chips are found almost everywhere these days and are found on just about every product in discount stores to big box retailers, from 99 cent items to high end electronics. What is an RFID chip you may ask? They are tiny little radio transmitters that send out a simple numeric code. Don't worry, they don't keep transmitting and are not part of some great global conspiracy to track everyone. Instead, RFID chips in most cases don't have their own power source and only work at short range, when energized by a special electrical signal sent from a transmitter no farther than a few feet away.
Those parallel bars that you walk through at the entrance of the store are those transmitters and they will pick up the signal from these chips as they go by. If the RFID chip has not been deactivated by the clerk you will set off the alarm and face stares from all the other shoppers who think you are stealing something.
RFID Chips are everywhere these days, from the toll pass that you attach to your window to employee badges.
Gas card companies use the in "Easy Passes" that let you touch your card to a reader and there are now many credit cards enabled with RFID chips so that you can swipe near a register to pay. Even the new United States Passport contains an RFID chip with all of your personal info on it. Unfortunately this very simple technology is highly vulnerable to cyber criminals, who can gather information fro chips embedded in credit cards and identification documents.
There are even sites on the internet where hackers can go and download plans for an "RFID sniffer" that they can discretely aim at passers-by, and just like those devices at the entrances of Wal Mart they can capture the contents of credit cards and even passports, then duplicate them with equipment they can also buy on the internet, and proceed use them all over town before you even know what happened. RFID sniffing identity theft is a real and growing problem.
Identity Theft Problem Growing
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. Each year millions of people are victims of it. RFID chips are just one more way that criminals can steal your personal information for nefarious purposes. An identity thief no longer has to break into your email or hack your computer, all they have to do is point a hidden device at your back pocket as you walk by and you'll never know what happened until it's too late.
Homeland Security Issues Of RFID Chips In Passports
In theory a terrorist or criminal could sniff your passport or company access card, print a fake one with his picture and use it for illegal activity.
You can protect the contents of your wallet by using an RFID blocking wallet that contains a metallic fabric that absorbs the radio waves from hackers transmitters.
Thankfully there are countermeasures that you can employ to deter RFID identity thieves. A "Faraday cage" is any kind of conductive shielding that prevents radio waves from entering or escaping. A woven mesh of metallic fiber is what keeps harmful electronic radiation inside your microwave instead of leaking out and causing you harm. The same principle applies to RFID cards which are protected by a thin layer of metallic shielding.
RFID chips only work when energized from another device and using a RFID blocking wallet or passport holder renders these hackers equipment useless. Makers of these wallets include Travelon which makes several styles and Datasafe.
Both makers guarantee that RFID chips will not be able to be "polled" and therefore not transmit through their wallets.
No longer will a simple leather wallet protect your vital information from identity thieves. Consider one that blocks signals from RFID chips in your credit cards and passport.