Your personal information is under constant threat. Millions of Americans fall victim to identity theft and fraud every year. You could easily be one of these potential victims without even realizing it. Years ago, your biggest concern in keeping your identity safe would have been avoiding the dexterous fingers of pickpockets. But now, even from as far as 10 feet away, thieves equipped with RFID scanners can easily steal your identification details, leaving you completely unaware of the crime. What you might not know is that your personal documents have probably been embedded with RFID microchips.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology utilizes the radio-frequency magnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags that are attached to certain objects. RFID microchips are embedded in many of these objects, such as credit cards, debit cards, including your passport and driver’s license. It doesn’t matter if you hide your passport in your bag or wallet. Radio waves go right through fabrics and even walls, which is why you can receive radio broadcasts from inside a building. These days, RFID scanners are so easy to manufacture at home that anyone can do it. All it takes is one high-tech thief with ill intentions and an RFID scanner to scan your document’s RFID-equipped components and steal data on your personal identification. The worst part is that you won’t even know when your data is being stolen, so you can’t take immediate action.
If you care about your privacy, then it isn’t just identity thieves that you have to worry about. Government agencies can also track your whereabouts with covert RFID scanners at stadiums, airports, and train stations. Through RFID microchips, your personal identification documents are essentially “announcing” your location to the same police-state government that also monitors your phone calls, emails, and web surfing habits. In the high surveillance world we live in, constant vigilance is necessary to keep your sensitive data safe.
How you can protect yourself from identity theft
Here are a few ways you can safeguard your personal privacy and data:
Protect your personal documents with RFID-blocking gear. You can find these devices in the form of simple and lightweight RFID blocking sleeves and wallets that create an impenetrable shield around your document’s RFID-equipped components. This shield repels the electromagnetic energy emitted by RFID readers while rendering your personal documents “electromagnetically opaque” and undetectable.
Practice situational awareness. Situational awareness involves conditioning yourself to have a heightened sense of alertness toward your surroundings. By assessing potential risks, situational awareness lets you know if someone is following you or acting in a suspicious manner. Make sure no one is standing nearby when you use your credit card while shopping.
Place your RFID-equipped cards next to each other. By keeping your cards and documents close together, this makes it harder for a potential thief to target any one specific RFID chip.
Monitor your monthly credit card statements. If you see any unusual purchases on your credit card statements, report it to your credit card company immediately. The sooner an investigation is made, the better.