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RFID theft. What is it?

CC imagesRFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. In today’s society, we need to be aware of this because thieves are using a RFID skimming equipment to steal data from credit cards, debit cards, driver’s licenses and passports. Thieves skim the data off the cards by passing in close proximity to a person with a device that activates the cards they are carrying and allows for information to be transferred. The strip and/or chip in or on a driver’s license, debit cards, credit cards, and even passports can be activated and the private data transferred. Thieves can purchase skimming equipment to do this online for around $100 and connect with a laptop and they are in business!

Cards can be counterfeited quickly. This excerpt from Consumer Reports describes how easily a card can be counterfeited:

‘From a few inches away, the account data can be read even if the card is inside a wallet or purse. By transferring the skimmed card data onto a blank magnetic-stripe card, Paget produced a counterfeit card that he then used to make a purchase that was successfully processed.’

Protecting ourselves is the most important thing! There are many RFID blocking products available for purchase, although nothing is 100%. The RFID blockers available for purchase can range from sleeves to insert your debit and credit cards in, to actual wallets that are designed with protective linings. There are DIY RFID blocking measures such as using aluminum foil to line your wallet to aid in blocking the signals.

So err on the side of caution, carry only the cards you need to minimize your risks. Monitor your bank accounts and your credit accounts regularly. Regardless of whether you choose to create a DIY RFID blocking system, purchase protective sleeves or wallets, or just carry only what you need, be diligent in monitoring your accounts to protect your finances.

Permanent link to this article: http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu/fycs/2016/02/26/rfid-theft-what-is-it/