The Truth about RFID Wallets

The Truth about RFID Wallets
Authored By Terrence Kelleman

RFID protection is a greater scam than the risk of being a victim of "RFID theft".

Sellers of RFID protective wallets are scamming customers into buying something they don't need. 


NY Times Wire Cutter summarized it this way:

We weren’t able to find any credible reports of actual, real-world RFID identity or credit card theft. It may be happening—it would be very hard to precisely identify if it were—but it’s certainly not widespread. It makes for a nifty demonstration by a hacker, but as Snopes notes, in 2010 the Identity Theft Resource Center had never seen a case—and it still doesn’t recommend RFID protection.

So here’s the deal: in theory the RFID chips that are in your credit cards can be skimmed from a distance with a reader without actually touching your wallet or pocket. It’s also called “electronic pickpocketing”. Sounds scary right? Maybe you need to protect yourself and your credit cards?

Before the panic sets in let’s consider a few things;

  1. Marketers of electronic pickpocketing are profiting off your fear
  2. Consider the technical barriers to actually stealing your card info
  3. Actual statistics of electronic pickpocketing theft

1 - Be weary of fear mongering fraudsters masquerading as protectors of your pocketbook

There’s a great website for sniffing out the fraudulent news called Snopes. They did some research into this RFID phenomenon and reported that the number one propagator of these electronic pickpocketing theft stories are from sellers of, you guessed it, RFID protective wallets.

2 - Stealing your card info is much more difficult than portrayed.

Reading most hysteria inducing marketing material you would think this is the easiest theft in the world but consider these rarely discussed facts that marketers of RFID technology don’t talk about;

  1. Most RFID chips are now encrypted making the wait at the checkout a bit longer but also completely frustrating thieves who would steal your credit card info.  
  2. Having more than one RFID card makes the data stream a jumbled mess.
  3. The distance a card chip is readable has been greatly reduced by advances in the RFID technology.

Taking these 3 technical barriers into consideration you are left with a stunning rebuke of the RFID wallet sellers who lie to steal real money from your wallet!

3 - The actual theft from “electronic pickpocketing” is incredibly rare.

In the UK they have had RFID cards much longer than the USA and here’s a quote from a 2016 UK report on credit card theft and fraud.

“Fraud on contactless cards and devices represents just 1.1 per cent of overall card fraud.” and what’s more the amounts of theft are generally very low. If you want to be concerned about incidents of fraud be careful when withdrawing money - ATM fraud (where your card or a copy of it is used with your pin) went up 32% from 2015 to 2016.

A quick look at the immediate effect of the EMV migration shows that counterfeit fraud decreased by 27 percent in terms of overall U.S. dollar volume in January 2016 compared to January 2015

But I’m not the only one out there trying to dispel this myth check out these other resources;

All things considered, Privacy and Security
There Are Plenty Of RFID-Blocking Products, But Do You Need Them?

RFID Wallets vs. Aluminum Foil

Money Tips
Why Dropping Cash On RFID-Blocking Tech Is A Waste Of Money

AARP - Scams & Fraud
So far, there's no proof that RFID skimming has been used in identity theft

NY Times Wirecutter
Are RFID-Blocking Wallets Necessary?

If you’re still freaked out by RFID skimmers do what Consumer Reports suggests and wrap your card or wallet in a thick sheet of Aluminum foil. It works as well as most RFID protectors on the market and it’s why I made this video back in 2011

RFID Proof your wallet - Simple HACK

Seneca once said “time discovers truth” and that will be the case of RFID racketeers once more people come to learn the truth about RFID Wallets.

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