How Can I Tell if My Wallet is RFID Protected?
RFID has become the new standard when it comes to many different plastic cards and identification tools. RFID signals are now often used for bank cards, credit cards, passports, bus passes, identification tags, and much more. Yes, the use of RFID has made the world move much faster, as technology often does, but it also has its downsides.
One of these downsides has to do with criminals using special gear to read the RFID signature without even touching you, thus stealing financial and personal info for their own gain. One important thing to note is that RFID protected wallets can help protect you from these crooks looking to steal your financial information without you ever having to open up your wallet. However, how can you tell if your wallet is RFID protected?
What is RFID?
RFID stands for ‘radio frequency identification’ and nowadays, it is something that is often used in relation to identity and financial transactions. For example, your credit cards, banks cards, and even your passport used to all have barcodes for identification. These bar codes would have to be swiped by a machine to match them and get the information from them.
However, times have changed, and now credit cards, passports, and more, use electronic radio frequency chips. In other words, when you go to tap your credit or bank card on the card scanner at the grocery store, the card readers read the specific radio frequency ID coming off your card in order to make financial transactions.
It is definitely a user-friendly and convenient factor because instead of scanning or inserting a card into the machine and then entering a pin code, you more or less just have to hover your bank or credit card over the reader to make a transaction. This does save a couple of seconds every time you go to make a transaction, but at the end of the day, it has also opened up a whole new world of crime.
RFID and Theft
The problem with the use of RFID in current credit cards and similar items is that it has also made your information much easier for criminals to access and steal. A few years ago, if somebody wanted to steal your passport or credit card information, they would actually have to get their hands on it. At the very least, they would have had to use a special card reader which is set up to steal your info, but this still involved the actual swiping of your card — it was a physical act.
However, now the problem is that the use of RFID in credit cards and identification cards has made it much easier for criminals to steal from you. There are special RFID readers which really anybody can buy online. If a criminal has an RFID reader, they can simply walk past you, and if they manage to get within a foot of your wallet, give or take, their RFID reader will read the RFID code from your credit card.
In other words, using one of these RFID scanners, criminals no longer have to get their hands on your credit card to steal your information, they just have to get near it, close enough for the scanner to read the signal. This is why RFID-protected wallets are now so popular, and it is why people everywhere wonder whether or not their current wallet is RFID protected and want to know how to make them on their own. So, how do you know if your wallet is RFID protected?
How to Tell if Your Wallet is RFID Protected
Perhaps the easiest way for you to tell if your wallet is RFID protected is to get an RFID reader and antenna. Yes, the crooks who steal from people in this manner also use these same RFID antennas and scanners. Simply put your credit cards inside your wallet, and then use the RFID scanner, go near the wallet, and see if any signals come through.
You should go through all of the possible frequency settings on the RFID scanner to ensure that nothing comes through on any of the frequencies. If you manage to cycle through all of the RFID frequencies when near the wallet, but nothing comes through, you can rest assured that your wallet is RFID protected.
Now, of course this involves buying an RFID scanner, which is obviously not ideal. A better way to tell if your wallet is RFID protected is simply to read the product description of the wallet you have. Nowadays, wallets will be clearly labeled as being RFID protected. If the wallet you have is not labelled as being RFID protected, then it is not.
What is however quite easy and convenient is that using some duct tape, packing tape, and aluminum foil, you can make your own RFID protection pouch. It’s more or less a pouch that features aluminum foil as the protective material, because a layer of aluminum foil should be enough to block radio signals from escaping. You can make one very easily, and then simply place it in your wallet with your cards inside of it.
On the other hand, there are also special RFID protection cards you can purchase, which you simply place in your wallet, and these also block RFID signals from getting through. At the end of the day, simply buying a new RFID protected wallet may be the best way to protect your vital financial data.
As you can see, criminals using RFID scanners to steal your personal and banking information without ever touching you has become a real problem. However, thankfully, there are various ways to tell whether or not your wallet is RFID protected. As well, there are various steps you can take to ensure that your wallet is well protected against RFID stealing crooks.