Are you aware that your personal information can be stolen simply by someone passing within 10 feet of you? Criminals are using readers, which can be purchased on eBay for as little as $8, that send a radio signal to ping your RFID chips and harvest your personal information. Thinking, “I don’t have an RFID chip?” Think again.
RFID, Radio Frequency Identification, technology is used in credit cards, debit cards, passports, employer/government ID cards, highway toll passcards and subway passes. The RFID chips embedded in these cards store your personal information. The antenna located in the chip receives electromagnetic energy from an RFID reader and uses a radio frequency to transmit the information back to the reader.
What’s the point of RFID technology? It creates quicker, more efficient transactions eliminating the traditional machines required to swipe and read magnetic strips. An RFID chip requires only a reader at the check-out point. About 100 million credit cards now have this technology and all will utilize it in the next 2-3 years. RFID chips, once limited to tracking cattle, are also tracking vehicles, airline passengers, Alzheimer's patients and pets. RFID technology is becoming a big part of our lives. That is, if we're even aware of all the parts.
Would you entrust your personal information to an RFID chip? Credit card companies are aware of the problem and are creating security fixes, such as encrypting data and removing the cardholder’s names from second-generation cards, but there are a number of steps you can take to protect your financial information.
Be aware of this technology and make choices accordingly. Cancel credit cards that you do not need or request one without RFID. Purchase an RFID blocking wallet or passport holder, which contain a metal shield to block radio frequencies. Also, monitor your credit card and bank statements regularly for errors or odd charges. Identity theft and fraud can occur without you even knowing that it happened.