Many passports, credit or debit cards and forms of identification contain little RFID microchips containing personal information that can allow thieves to steal our money or identity – and all they have to do is walk past us.
Because these RFID microchips use radio frequency to transmit information, all a thief needs to copy the information they contain is easily-made RFID-reading equipment hidden in a briefcase or backpack. This means the person walking past you in the airport, or standing next to you in line may be harvesting your valuable information as you unsuspectingly go about your day, oblivious to the nightmare of identity theft in your near future.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do to keep these human identity hackers out of your personal business, because the RFID-reading equipment can be blocked. Below are some products and ideas you can use to keep your financial information private and avoid identity theft.
1. RFID-Blocking Travel Wallets—
Radio frequency is blocked by metal and water, making us wonder if water-lined RFID-blocking bags and wallets are in development. But in the meantime, we have metal-lined products to keep prying criminals out of our wallets, credit cards and passports.
One of the most popular of these products is the RFID-blocking travel wallet. Generally these offer places for multiple credit and ID cards, as well as separate holders for passports. Lined with flexible metal or aluminum inside, but nylon or leather on the outside, these wallets look and feel like ordinary wallets – only you know of their hidden superhero powers.
2. RFID-Blocking Sleeves—
If you already have a wallet you love, you can simply buy protection for everything you keep inside. RFID-blocking sleeves are great for protecting the credit cards, debit cards and other identification containing RFID chips.
Thin, form-fitting and usually made to hold multiple cards at a time, these credit card shields are an inexpensive and extremely effective way to keep the bad guys out of your business.
3. RFID-Blocking Passport Cases—
Designed specifically to protect a passport from RFID-reading equipment, if you keep your passport somewhere outside of your RFID-blocking wallet, it’s a great idea to give your international identity its own safe cover as well.
Some passport cases are designed only to hold a passport, but many include places for credit cards, money and other important traveling necessities, and hang as a pouch from the wearer’s neck for extra security.
4. RFID-Blocking Aluminum or Stainless Steel Cases—
These RFID-blocking wallets are often rectangular and somewhat boxy in appearance, but still sleek enough to fit inside of any purse.
Easily found inside a bag or backpack, a small metal case offers the added protection of visual strength: those with RFID-reading equipment will take one look at your metal protection and search elsewhere for today’s victim. Consider this tough case a “Beware of Dog” sign for the fence surrounding your identity.
5. RFID-Blocking Bags and Backpacks—
If you’d rather skip the little products and purchase one larger, all-encompassing piece of protective gear, an RFID-blocking bag, hip pouch, backpack or purse might be the way to go.
A larger metal-lined surface can give you the peace of mind found in knowing that no matter where you’ve stashed your identification or financial information inside, it’s not getting stolen.
6. DIY RFID-Blocking Creations—
Making duct tape wallets has become a popular and trendy craft over the last few years, and with the addition of aluminum foil to one of these homemade holders, you can create your own RFID-blocking protection on the cheap.
Some people also skip the duct tape completely and make aluminum cases and covers for all microchip-containing cards and identification, which works great as well.
Other tips experts recommend to thwart would-be RFID-readers is to always stack credit and debit cards together in the same spot to scramble the information. It’s also important to monitor your bank statements, credit card bills, and check your credit report often to catch thieves before they can do serious damage to your credit rating.
Consider using some of the smart RFID-blocking ideas and products above to keep your personal information, identification and financial security out of the hands of thieves.