Introduction: "Foil" RFID Credit Card Theft
RFID chipped credit/debit cards are touted as a "new" and "secure" credit card method and banks are issuing all new cards with chips, phasing out stripe-only cards. RFID technology is not only nothing new, it's also far less secure than they would have you believe.
RFID chips are also used as tracking devices. Are banks using them for this purpose?
Do you want to take the risk of finding out?
Did you know that if you are motionless for a full 30 seconds, such as standing in a line at the store or in an elevator, a thief can scan your RFID-enabled card from up to three feet away and hack your card? Google around, it's true.
Here is how you can "foil" them and gain a slight edge on credit card theft.
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Step 1: "Foil" Your Card
A Consumer Reports article reviewed ten commercial "wallet shields" and found the results inconsistent and poor, even among several batches from the same manufacturer (link below.) The bottom line:
"Our reporter offered her own homemade shield constructed of duct tape and lined with aluminum foil. It provided better protection than eight of the 10 commercial products, including a stainless-steel “RFID blocking” wallet selling online for about $60."
- Aluminum Foil
- Duct Tape
It's "Duct Tape," not "Duck Tape," but the brand name "Duck Tape" Duct Tape will do just fine. (snarky comment brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.)
As for the aluminum foil, a new piece of any grade will do. I used leftovers from my Tin Foil Hat. :-\
Simply wrap the card, but not too tightly, in the foil. Be sure to fold edges on the outside of the pocket so it doesn't hang up when you slip the card in and out. If you're concerned about damaging the magnetic strip on the card with the edges of the foil (as you can see I'm not,) you can make it a little long and fold the foil edges on the outside of the tape.
Wrap the foil with tape while the card is still in the foil, again, not too tightly.
With the card still in the foil sleeve, slide the foil sleeve down inside your wallet or, in my wife's case, the phone case where you keep the card. It will be a little tight, work it down in carefully. When you use the card, slide it out of the foil case and leave the case in your wallet. It should slide in and out easily.
That's it, it's not much but every little bit of protection helps.