RFID ChipIt’s the call we all dread – the credit card company calling to inform you of suspicious activity on your credit card.  “What?  I’ve had my card with me all the time.  In fact I just checked and it’s in my back pocket!”

We all know that when we’re traveling in unfamiliar places, it’s important to be extra vigilant about our wallets and passports to keep them safe from pickpockets. But did you know that criminals are now able to steal personal and account information from your credit cards, passport or driver’s license while these items are still securely tucked into your pocket or bag?  They can even get information stored in a money belt, neck pouch, or in clothing with hidden inner pockets.

This ”digital pickpocketing” is made possible due to the RFID technology that is being embedded into the latest cards and documents.


What is RFID Technology?

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a technology that uses radio waves to enable wireless transmission of electronic data.  Tiny RFID chips are embedded onto your cards and documents as a high tech method of storing and reading data.  These chips may contain your personal data, photo, and account information.

U.S. Passports issued since August 2007 have an RFID chip.  An increasing number of debit and credit cards are also embedded with this technology.  And more and more states are including a chip in driver’s licenses.


How Does RFID Technology Lead to Identity Theft?

RFID chips allow travelers the convenience of quickly swiping a card or passport in front of an RFID scanner for payment or identification.  Unfortunately, this same convenient scanning is also what has made them more vulnerable to identity theft.

A criminal standing next to you with a readily available RFID scanner can easily skim the data from a card in your pocket, without you even knowing it!  They can then sell your personal information, or turn around and use your personal data to make fraudulent documents, cards, and purchases under your name.


What Can You Do?  Get Protection With RFID Sleeves, Wallets and Cases

A number of new products have been designed specifically to protect against the theft of your information through unauthorized RFID scanning.  Some of the most useful types include:

  • RFID blocking sleeve for passports
  • RFID sleeves for credit/debit cards and ids
  • RFID blocking wallets for passports and money
  • Purses, totes, cases, and bags with special RFID blocking pockets or card slots built in

Using one of these simple and inexpensive products can reduce your risk of being a victim of this 21st century brand of thievery.

Browse our selection of RFID blocking sleeves, wallets, or bags from the Smart Travel Gifts store.

Have you ever been the victim of identify theft?  What kind of precautions do you take when you’re traveling?

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