We’ve all heard how criminals steal information and use it for identity theft and fraudulent transactions. If you’re worried about credit card fraud, an RFID wallet can be a worthwhile investment.
Read on to learn more.
What is RFID?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that incorporates the use of electrostatic or radio waves to identify a person or an object. Generally, every RFID system consists of a transceiver, transponder, and scanning antenna. Once activated, the transponder can read tags based on the type of reader and the surrounding environment.
At the basic level, this technology converts waves to a usable form of data. Then, the information is transferred to a computer system and analyzed. RFID is used in different industries like ID bagging, supply chain management, personnel tracking, controlling access to restricted areas, etc. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right RFID.
For communication to take place, the reader and tags must operate at the same frequency. You should ensure the frequency range applies in your specific location, or the system won’t work.
Polarization means that the antennas send the waves in a single plane. If you’re not careful, null zones can occur. Therefore, you should pay attention to your antennas to maximize the functionality of RFID.
A higher gain means that you can create a narrower area of coverage. Antennas with a higher gain guarantee a longer travel distance. As the power flows through the circuit, the signals are reflected to the reader.
How Can Thieves Steal Your Information Electronically From Wallets?
Over the years, hackers have shown they can skim the details in your wallet a few feet away. More alarmingly, the skimmers can collect credit card numbers and steal your money.
You must have heard claims about how contactless crimes have resulted in a huge financial loss. And there are lots of studies that help make a compelling case. Without a doubt, this is an imminent threat.
In the early days, the RFID systems used to transmit data unencrypted – the chips now send a one-time pin. But a determined thief will still purchase by replicating the signal from the card.
Do you get the picture?
But what makes this threat menacing is that RFID receivers can pull data from long distances. And the hackers don’t even have to touch you. Unlike the traditional pickpocketing methods, skimming will leave the victim unaware of what just happened.
If no PIN or signature is required for use, some can still use the card at the pay point terminal. Unlike the traditional barcodes, the RFID tags can transmit data when embedded within an item.
How Does RFID Blocking Work?
RFID blocking prevents the scanning of important documents – the threat is understandable. If your credit card details get into the wrong hands, it can be impossible to undo the damage. It’s worth reassessing the vulnerability levels since your credit cards and passport information is not contactless.
The RFID blocking systems reduce the signal transmitted and prevent the microchip on your credit card from working. Since the RFID reader transmits signals by blocking the tags, it works with one type of frequency. The two types of RFID blocking technologies are active and passive blocking.
The passive shield
They deflect or absorb the RFID signals. The passive shield works by bouncing the radiofrequency energy. Unlike the active ones, these tags do not need power – they absorb energy from the reader’s radio.
This technology sends out an interfering signal. It pretends there’s a crashing issue with the card reader. If the chip can’t receive the signals, then there’s no transmission. Let’s say a criminal is trying to read your credit cards. In the active RFID shield, the jamming signal will cut the communication between the contactless card and the criminals.
When the power source is depleted, the active tag will no longer operate.
So, which one is better? The active shield comes with reliable results.
Why Are RFID Blocking Wallets Important?
If you have passports, credit cards, driver’s licenses, or other devices, RFID wallets can keep your data safe. Did you know thieves can steal your information when standing next to you? But again, RFID cards help you make payments conveniently.
Picture this – someone walks past you, scans the wallet, and copies the RFID data. Then, he creates a crone card to access your details. This is where an RFID wallet comes in. It’s designed to protect your cards from any form of electronic pickpocketing.
But placing your wallet next to your sensitive documents doesn’t provide a barrier – the skimmer can still access your data. This brings us to the question, how should you use the wallet? Typically, the wallet is made of metal, carbon fiber, or any other material that can create a magnetic barrier. While aluminum foil can provide the same benefits, would you be willing to wrap your credit card every time you use it? An RFID wallet will protect you from such contactless attacks.
This is a serious concern since most credit cards are embedded with radio identification chips. After activation, these chips can transmit information wirelessly.
But here is the thing. Some RFID wallets block the skimmers better than others. You should invest in a wallet that blocks the signals seamlessly and those that make it harder to skim remotely.
How Can You Tell If an RFID Blocking Wallet Is Working?
The easiest way to test the effectiveness of the wallet is heading to a pay point. Then, scan the card (not swiping). Now take everything from the wallet and repeat the process with your credit cards only. This is a surefire way to test whether the RFID technology is working or not.
If you have an NFC-enabled phone, you can try to scan the expiry date and credit card number. If the lining of your wallet protects your cards from working properly, then you won’t scan the cards.
The RFID blocking wallet feature different capacities. You can choose bi-fold, tri-fold, or more sleek designs. Still, you can go for a metal or leather wallet.
Once you invest in a good RFID blocking wallet, you can be sure your credit cards and other documents are safe. The inner signal blocking liner will ensure all your cards are encased, so there’s no need to worry. If you’ve checked out my About page you’ll see my Ridge Wallet, which was the RFID blocking solution that I decided to go with.