Identity theft is already a big problem. We don’t need credit card companies making it even easier to pull off. But that’s exactly what some companies have done with their radio wave frequency identification (RFID) cards. You can quickly tell if you have one of these credit cards by looking at the card front, which will probably contain the Wi-Fi icon.
Why do RFID credit cards make you more vulnerable to identify theft than other credit cards? Because a thief doesn’t need to touch your card to obtain your financial data stored in the RFID chip. As revealed by technical website EnGadget, all that a thief needs to do is skim your card with a reader that he or she can purchase on eBay for about $8.
I don’t have any RFID credit cards, but I’m always concerned about letting a credit card out of my sight, even if it’s just for a few minutes when I hand it to a waiter. That’s why I always use cash or a debit card. I’m a lot more likely to find out sooner rather than later if my debit card has been compromised than I am a credit card.
Need more proof? Check out this article “RFID Credit Cards Are Easy Prey for Hackers.”
Companies that issue RFID credit cards are aware of the seriousness of the problem and are (supposedly) taking steps to correct it. In the meantime, following are six ways to protect yourself from ID theft through RFID credit cards:
- Don’t take your RFID credit cards out of your home. Use them only for online purchases at home. For purchases outside your home, use cash or regular credit or debit cards.
- Keep your RFID credit cards stacked together in your wallet. By keeping them on top of each other, it will be more difficult for a scanner to read data on a particular card.
- Use aluminum foil to wrap your RFID credit cards before putting them in your wallet. Some people have reported that this technique helps block RFID scanners from reading the card.
- Employ a credit card shield for more protection. Several companies manufacture shields that hold your credit card when it’s not in use. Most companies use aluminum material to prevent RFID scanners from reading the data on your card.
- Carry a DataSafe wallet if you’d prefer not to have a separate shield for each individual card. These wallets are manufactured with materials that have been approved by the Government Services Administration to block RFID transmissions.
- Monitor your credit card statements for errors or oddities. Credit card theft and fraud can occur even after taking precautions, but regularly monitoring bank statements can alert you to suspicious activity in a timely fashion.
Do you own an RFID credit card? Were you familiar with this problem prior to obtaining the card? Have you ever been a victim of ID theft as a result of having one of these cards? What precautions do you take with your RFID credit cards? I’d love to hear from you about this subject.