RFID which stands for Radio Frequency Identification is a technology through which data is wirelessly transmitted over a short distance between two RFID-enabled devices i.e. transmitter and receiver.
This technology has various uses but we commonly use it to make contactless payments from our RFID-enabled credit card to vendor’s RFID-enabled machines for making the payment process more straightforward.
RFID technology has surely made life simpler for us. But with emerging technology the risk of it getting misused also increases. And in this article, we will see how scammers are misusing RFID technology to steal your information and what can you do about it? So let’s get started!
Quick links to specific parts of the article
- How Do Thieves Steal RFID
- Is RFID Theft Possible?
- What Is RFID Blocking?
- How To Block RFID Transmission?
- Do RFID Blockers Really Help?
How Do Thieves Steal RFID?
Thieves these days don’t break into the house to steal your belongings but they are now operating from public places like streets, bus stands, shopping malls, and where not.
Now since we are using RFID credit cards more than often to make contactless payments on the go, thieves are using special RFID scanners that catch the signals transmitted from your cards and record them in their devices.
They then misuse your information for all sorts of illegal stuff and in rare cases can even suck till the last penny in your bank account. And for this, they don’t even have to touch you. They will cross your path in the public and you won’t even notice that your valuable information is already been stolen.
You can watch this video to understand how the RFID scam works and how it is misused by the thieves to steal your valuable information.
Is RFID Theft Possible? Or Just A Hype Created By Anti-RFID Product Sellers?
So you saw the video and now curious to know whether this scam is actually practical or just a gimmick. Well, to your relief there aren’t many cases of RFID-based thefts recorded especially when talking about stealing the money from your bank account.
Also, there are lots of security protocols involved in the RFID based payment system. So, it’s quite hard to break this protocol and steal the money from your account.
But, it doesn’t mean that you should be reluctant about it and move around in the street carelessly. Identity theft is still a big concern and using special RFID skimming devices, thieves can still gather a lot of information about you. Once your information is in their hands they can use it to your disadvantage.
So, is there anything you could do to stop this and save your information from landing in the wrong hands? Yes, it’s possible and not that tough to do so. All you need to do is, block the RFID signals transmitted from your cards and other RFID enabled ID cards to stop sharing your information wirelessly.
What Is RFID Blocking?
As the name suggests RFID blocking is a process of creating a barrier between your RFID transmitting credit card and the potential RFID thieves. Now even if you pass nearby an RFID scanner, your data won’t transmit to them.
There are many ways to block RFID transmission and save yourself from falling prey to this scam. To learn more about blocking RFID transmission you can read further.
How To Block RFID Transmission?
There are many ways in which you can save your cards from transmitting data over the wireless transmission. Some of the methods are totally free while some need you to invest a small amount in order to get a good reliable RFID blocker.
1. Using Aluminum Foil: Aluminum is a poor conductor of electromagnetic waves so if you wrap your cards in a thin sheet of aluminum foils, you can easily block the radio signals transmitted from your card to reach an RFID scanner.
2. Using RFID Blocker Sleeves And Wallets: If you don’t want to carry aluminum in your wallets then you can rather buy an RFID blocking sleeves or a wallet that can prevent radio signals to pass through them.
3. Destroy The RFID Chip: It may sound a bit awkward but if you don’t use your card for making contactless payments then you can destroy the RFID chip on it. For destroying the chip you can place the card in the microwave for a quick 5 seconds or damage the chip with a sharp object may be a scissor or a knife. Then you can ask your card company to provide you a non RFID card.
Do RFID Blockers Really Help?
Using an RFID blocker actually helps and it decreases the chances of someone stealing your data without you knowing. Buying an RFID blocking product may seem a worthless investment at first but it’s really worth it if you are concerned about your data being stolen.
So overall yes, RFID blockers do help and you must get one for yourself. If you don’t want to invest in an RFID wallet or sleeve you can either destroy the RFID chip on your card or wrap it in aluminum foil.
Yes, the RFID wallets can pass the TSA scan.
Yes, by using aluminum foil or metal container you can make your own RFID blocker because metals are poor conductors of electromagnetic waves.
RFID skimming is real but there are not many recorded cases as of now.