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Protecting Yourself from Electronic Pickpocketing

Lately it seems like the words fraud and identity theft are used more frequently in both the national news and day-to-day conversations amongst peers. It’s becoming more common to hear about friends and family being victimized and the stress surrounding the aftermath. Not only do you typically lose money and/or your personal information, but you feel violated, offended and angry by the thought of someone taking something from you. So what can we do as a whole and as individuals to protect ourselves better? For one, retailers have been spending more money on protecting their customer’s information when ordering online. Banks are switching to chip protected debit and credit cards and retailers are using two-step verifications in person when using the cards. This is a good start, but hackers also have the ability to steal your information before you actually use your card. That’s right; it’s called contactless credit card fraud. By using an RFID reader/skimmer, a hacker can essentially pull the data from your card including the 3 digit CVV.

There are a few methods to help block RFID readers, but none of them are 100% foolproof so it becomes a matter of personal preference on price, material, bulkiness/thickness and,of course, style. One option would be using white Tyvek sleeves for each individual card (10 credit card sleeves and 2 passport sleeves for $9.95 on Amazon.com). This is quite practical, but can become cumbersome as well as unattractive to some people. Another method is using good old-fashioned aluminum foil to wrap the cards in, or an aluminum container such as an Altoidsbox to carry all of your cards in. Aluminum foil could become noisy and tear easily so you would need to replace it often. The Altoids box method is very budget-friendly and gets the job done, if you don’t mind the look of pulling your cards out of a mint box. If those options don’t sound fitting, there are many companies that specifically sell“RFID-blocking wallets.” Typically, they can range in material and price from a carbon fiber material for $105 (www.ridgewallet.com) to a crocodile printed leather bi-fold for $80 (www.datasafewallet.com).

You also have the option to purchase a case or wallet that has the same blocking capability without the RFID specific brand. Stainless steel cases that are lightweight and sleek can be found for $49 at www.primandpropercase.com. These cases tend to be more suitable for fashion-savvy individuals who don’t necessarily need the RFID associated brand but still want the added protection. Whichever type of RFID-blocking wallet or case you choose to purchase, make sure it will be something you feel comfortable and confident using on a day-to-day basis, or else it will not serve its multi-function purpose well.



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