Most consumers are unaware someone can walk by and steal credit card or passport information in a few seconds. It's more important than ever to be aware. If credit cards have the new RFID chips in them, they're at risk for electronic pick-pocketing.
RFID is a controversial technology that uses an imbedded circuit to store valuable information from a credit card that can be transmitted wirelessly to a merchant.
By October 2015, all new US credit cards and passports will have this technology. How can a consumer tell if a card is RFID chip enabled? The major credit card companies that have adopted "contactless payment" methods are doing so under specific brand names.
For Visa, it's PayWave, MasterCard has PayPass, American Express is ExpressPay and Discover is Zip.
RFID chips are designed to make consumers' shopping experience easier. Just tap the card on the reader and all of the credit card information goes to the merchant. It's convenient for both shopper and merchant, and it's also convenient for a thief. All one needs to steal credit card information is an inexpensive scanner purchased on eBay, or a smartphone and free app. Either of these enable a thief to steal or "skim" the information from a credit card, create a clone of that card and make purchases, without ever coming into contact with a victim. In fact, the consumer will have no idea a crime has been committed, which is why some observers have dubbed this the new age of electronic pick-pocketing.
A simple, but inelegant solution is to wrap credit cards in aluminum foil. Luckily, the market place is beginning to offer alternative solutions. One stylish approach would be a credit card protector sleeve from VAULT by Elk & Bear: Handpicked. Sales of these highly effective RFID sleeves are brisk as the public becomes more aware of the risks associated with chip enhanced cards. Elk & Bear goes one step further than the foil solution by adding copper to their VAULT protective sleeves. The combination of aluminum and copper blocks a larger range of electromagnetic frequencies providing more comprehensive protection from electronic pick pocketing. VAULT by Elk & Bear credit card and passport protector sleeves are available exclusively on Amazon.com.