Is it safe?
While RFID is gaining in popularity, and many companies are proposing to use it in all sorts of industries, from grocery scanning to tracking currency and retail, RFID technology can also pose a serious security hazard in credit cards. The technology Website EnGadget found that any unauthorized user can scan RFID credit cards for unencrypted data using a reader that can be purchased online for as low as $8.00.
How can I protect my wallet?
Credit card companies are catching on to the threats posed by RFID, and are taking action to boost security in the near future. If you are concerned about the safety of the information on your cards, here are some steps you can take right now to protect your credit cards from RFID tracking systems:
- When you are out and about, use cash or normal credit and debit cards. Leave your RFID cards at home and use them for online purchases only.
- Stack your RFID cards in your wallet back-to-back. This creates what is called “tag collision,” essentially giving the reader too many signals to process at once. This offers little new link protection, however, since time read is very fast and it can be easy to develop systems that scan the chips one at a time.
- Get a DataSafe wallet, or other similar product approved by the Government Services Administration to block RFID signals. These wallets are indistinguishable from a normal wallet on the outside.
- Buy credit card shields to hold your cards when not in use. These are made from aluminum material and there are a number of companies that make them for less than $10.
- Go the homemade route: Wrap your RFID cards in aluminum foil before you put them in your wallet. Some users have said that this is a simple and effective way to block your cards from RFID readers.
- Make sure to consistently monitor your credit card statements, ad be on the alert for any suspicious account activity. Even if you don’t have RFID cards, this is the best way to avoid credit card theft and fraud.
RFID technology at this point is limited to a range of about 5 feet. This may not be the case for long, however, as advancements and new technologies arise, it will be increasingly important to secure anything containing personal information that is equipped with RFID or similar technology. Watch for advancements in the technology and ensure your personal information is secure.