As technology continues to progress, the conversation around data protection becomes increasingly important. We know it’s important to not share our passwords and carefully manage account information, but did you know your sensitive information can be breached without your knowledge directly from your pocket in everyday places? Luckily, there’s protection by way of “RFID wallets”, officially referred to as RFID blocking devices. Read on to learn more about RFID and why we decided to launch RFID Protection products.
What is RFID?
To better understand the threats, we need to understand the technology. The need for RFID wallets stems from the introduction of RFID technology. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. RFID uses an electromagnetic field to identify and track objects integrated with the system through tags containing digital information. It’s essentially a step up from the traditional barcodes as seen on items in stores or in inventory management facilities. This elevated technology not only includes basic product information but access to sensitive data and tracking abilities from a distance.
RFID itself is not the enemy. It was originally created during World War II to identify British aircrafts as they returned to base after a mission. Today, this technology is used as an efficiency booster for several industries such as retail, transportation, shipping, banking, and more. These chips make it easier for store warehouses to track products which increases the speed of the online order and fulfillment process. For increased security, many companies also use RFID to track employee whereabouts during the work day.
This technology makes our personal lives easier too! RFID chips help speed up the process to get a passport checked when traveling, automatically pay for tolls, and allow for contactless payment via credit cards. Unfortunately, criminals are creative and have found ways to take advantage of this innovative digital advancement.
How is My Credit Card Information Getting Stolen?
An RFID-user’s greatest threat comes from individuals now known as “skimmers”. They use devices called RFID scanners to pick up credit card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV codes from passerby. These scanners take advantage of traditional RFID technology, utilizing the digital advancement for theft. The term “skimmer” was coined from the extreme ease with which these individuals steal, simply by walking along next to a stranger on the street for a few moments. Due to the electromagnetic field, no physical touch between the RFID scanner and your wallet is even needed! The criminals will be long gone before you even realize there’s an issue.
Once a skimmer has obtained the card information, it’s a relatively simple process to use it. Using a card-magnetizing tool, the criminals can transfer the data onto a new card. The skimmer then has access to your accounts and can use the card within seconds. These machines aren’t terribly difficult or expensive to obtain either. Anyone who has the money to pay for a card reader or magnetizing tool can buy one, regardless of industry or intent. A credit card reader can be purchased online for around $50 and the card-magnetizing tool for approximately $300.
What is a RFID Blocking Wallet?
So what’s the best method of protection against the skimmers? While the internet might have you wrapping your credit cards in aluminium foil, there are safer and more fashionable products available. RFID blocking wallets were created intentionally to prevent skimmers from picking up your card information from the beginning.
These RFID wallets contain a layer or wrapping made from carbon fiber or metal. This special layer in these RFID wallets block the electromagnetic fields from reaching your cards that have RFID chips embedded in them. The carbon fiber or metal used in this shield is considered a conductive material. The measurement of conductivity determines the level of ease with which electric charges (or heat) transfers through a material. This protective layer of a RFID blocking wallet takes the incoming electromagnetic waves from a skimmer’s RFID scanner and spreads it around the wallet, but refuses entry through the shield.
This process is how RFID wallets keep skimmers out and your credit cards safe. It’s important to note that for valuable RFID-embedded items to be safe, they must be inside the wallet. Mere proximity next to an RFID wallet (even in the same pocket) will not keep the sensitive information safe!
Why You Need a RFID Wallet:
The frequency waves from RFID scanners are strong enough to pass through your clothing, handbag or backpack, and wallet. This is why it’s so important to have a specialized material built in to your wallet to block RFID scanners. Every one of us with RFID-embedded items is at risk to have sensitive data stolen, regardless of our job, financial status or location. The simple safeguard of a RFID blocking wallet can go a long way.
Paperwallet's RFID Protection Products:
Our customers asked and we delivered. Paperwallet now features select collections of Slim Wallets, Flat Wallets, and Clutches with RFID protection built in! Our RFID protected Micro Wallet is also available on Indiegogo. Don’t worry, with our special RFID blocking technology we were able to add the protection without taking away any of the minimalism or compact nature of the original Paperwallet design. Our artists have created 11 new and previously loved styles in the RFID wallet collection for you to enjoy such as ‘Armin van Otter’ and ‘The Hole’.