In a previous article we attempted to highlight the risks and process of RFID skimming. In that brief post, we simply identified some of the obvious risks without really proffering any solution. Today, we will be looking at some simple but effective ways of preventing RFID skimming.
From our last post, we understood that the skimming is made possible because the chips in the card transmit information. In fact, they are always transmitting and this is what has made it easy for tech thieves to be able to steal this information.
Having considered different possible scenarios, we shall recommend a few solutions.
Preventing RFID Skimming
Your card details can be skimmed either while you are using it or right there in your wallet. These are two different scenarios that will require different solutions.
How to Protect Your Cards in Your Wallet
Preventing RFID skimming of the cards in your wallet is a lot easier today than it was some years back. You can actually purchase a wallet that is skimming proof. These wallets are designed with shields and prevent the transmission of your cards from leaving your wallet.
Once no transmission can be detected from your wallet, the criminals cannot read any information.
If you are looking for something that will not cost you much, you may consider using red construction paper as shown in this video:
While you may not understand the technicalities behind it, you can see that the transmission from the cards is highly reduced.
Remember, this second solution may not be very full-proof. You may therefore be better off with an RFID-proof wallet. Note the following for additional protection:
- If you have more than one card, place them all next to each other in your wallet. This will mix up the signals.
- Put your wallet in your front pocket and not the traditional back pocket position.
How to Protect Your Cards While in Use
Your cards will not remain in your wallet forever. At some point, you will have to take it out and use it. We know that some unscrupulous individuals also install card readers in legitimate points of sale. This usually happens without the knowledge of the business owner. While the business owner should try to prevent this, we can do some of the following:
- When getting gas from a gas station, try to use the pump closest to the attendant. These hackers are known to prefer installing their card readers on pumps farthest from the attendant.
- If you look around and are not comfortable with the location of the pumps, you can pay inside instead.
- While paying inside, ensure there is no one too close to you.
- As much as you can, reduce the use of your card on weekends. It has been proven that this is when these card readers are installed the most.
- Always check your card statement for any strange transactions. If you can report these as soon as they occur, the credit card company will bear the loss.
As users look for ways of preventing RFID skimming, companies should also play their part. Credit card companies should offer cards that are RFID skimming proof. Merchants should also check their POS units constantly to ensure no third party card readers are installed.