How RFID-Blocking Technology Makes You Safer?

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  • Pull out your bank or credit card and take a look at the back. Do you see a triangle of arcs resembling a WiFi signal? Yes? Well, read this. Your card has inbuilt RFID technology that enables contactless payment. It also enables other things and ones that are not so virtuous. In a Saturday Washington show, Kristin Paget showed a stunned audience how RFID-enabled credit card data can be effortlessly, cheaply, and invisibly stolen and used for fraudulent transactions.

    Paget showed how for a few hundred bucks worth of equipment (bought from eBay), a hacker can pull your credit card details from a distance. Using a Vivotech RFID credit card reader she bought on eBay for $50, she wirelessly revealed a volunteer's credit card onstage and picked all the details, everything - down to the one-time CVV number. As if that wasn't enough to shock the audience, next she used a $300 magnetizing tool to encode that data on an empty card. And it didn't stop there. To the gasp of the audience, she then used a popular iPhone attachment to swipe this fake card and pay herself $15.

    Payment details hacked, embedded on a fake card, money stolen ... all for less than a few hundred dollars worth of gadgets.

    Can RFID Blocking Wallets Protect You From Skimming and Fraud
    Grid's antimicrobial copper wallet

    The threat of RFID fraud has spawned a million-dollar industry. Just go online and you can buy anything from RFID blocking wallets to bags and clothes. But here's the good news. Most of these anti-theft products actually shield your personal details. The threat of identity theft is real, growing and RFID blocking wallets is certainly one of the best ways to keep your card details safe.

    The current breed of RFID blocking wallets and accessories works in many ways. Essentially they are either active or passive. Passive shields fortify your cards with a layer (or layers - as in the case with these carbon fiber wallets) of radio frequency blocking material. This outer shield absorbs and deflects the radiation, not allowing them to reach your cards within.

    What Are The Best RFID Blocking Wallets?
    Grid's Blue Aluminum Wallet

    GRID leads the race with anti-theft RFID shield

    If you don't mind spending around $70, you can get a sleek-looking carbon fiber cardholder that guarantees iron-clad protection. GRID and Ridge currently lead the pack when it comes to RFID blocking wallets. These are road-tested and offer premium quality and luxury looks befitting a boardroom meeting. 

    In our tests, we placed wireless-payment-enabled cards inside carbon fiber wallets and placed them on a card reader at the local supermarket checkout. Nothing. Next, we pulled out the card partially and placed it on the reader. Still nothing. An authorized RFID reader couldn't read through even with the cardholder directly placed on top.

    Active shields, however, work differently. These use a chip to send out an interfering signal. What it effectively promises to do is to create a card clash. This means that the card reader is picking up data that has nothing to do with your details. It's also claimed to drain the power of the reader making it virtually ineffective.

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