Will Radio-Frequency ID Technology Affect You? In all likelihood -yes!

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Credit cards, drivers' licenses, corporate ids, university ids, speed passes and passports are starting to contain RFID (radio frequency identification) chip technology.

Criminals know that RFID readers that can "skim" the information contained in the chip, can be easily found on the web for less than $100.00. Once these RF reading devices are in their hands, they can steal you, your information and your privacy without your knowledge.

My local ABC station recently aired a disturbing, eye-opening report - (see video) The investigative reporter placed a radio-frequency reader inside her purse and then began her quest to see just how easy it would be to steal her co-workers personal information. They first armed and activated her device with an audible alarm so viewers, and her intended targets, could hear a successful theft in real time. Her targeted victims would hear the beeping alarm sounds -but were completely unaware of what she was actually up to. They didn't know why her bag was beeping or what the beeping alarm meant...at least not until it was too late.

Carrying her purse, the reporter nonchalantly walked by an unsuspecting employee's desk, and suddenly, a beeping noise emanated from the reporter's bag. She then set her purse on another co-worker's desk -again, more beeping. She proceeded to walk casually down the office hallway past another co-worker, and yet again, more beeping. Each audible beep meant she successfully hacked the unsuspecting target's private information -information her targets believed was stowed safely away.

Keep in mind, criminals won't activate their devices with an audible alarm designed to warn us they're about to attack our purses or wallets, as this investigative reporter's device did. She also warned us that often the criminals will work in teams. While one crook is skimming your information, the other is busy snapping a picture of you on his/her cell phone. For all intents and purposes -they've just stolen you!

It's hard to imagine just how much sensitive information can be "skimmed" at airports, shopping malls, grocery stores, sporting events, universities, etc. without anyone being the wiser.

And how much damage (or how many doors) will that stolen data open everyone up to?

Could confidential information stored on personnel badges or key cards -if stolen, provide a thief entrance or access to password protected computers, corporate or government facilities, college campuses, classified information?

Yes -if not properly secured and protected.

Since retaining our identity has become a daily struggle, simply trying to avoid... identity theft, data breaches, hackers, scams, predators and fraud...this latest technology isn't something we can afford to ignore. The days of simply worrying about keeping our wallets in our "physical" possession are long gone. Our having "physical" possession of our wallets and credit cards does not immunize us from fraud.

With radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags being embedded in everything from quick-pay credit cards to the new U.S. passports, "skimming" is an effective tactic for criminals to perpetrate identity theft and other crimes of fraud. According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse "RFID readers have already been experimentally embedded into floor tiles, woven into carpeting and floor mats, hidden in doorways, and seamlessly incorporated into retail shelving and counters, making it virtually impossible for a consumer to know when or if he or she was being scanned".

What can you do to minimize your risk or thwart these attacks?

Aside from using tin foil or duct tape to hide your identifying information, here's a couple of products available on the web;

DIFRWEAR.com sells RFID Blocking Wallets.

"RFID Blocking Wallets ensure that cards with RFID tags within the wallet can NOT be read while the wallet is closed. This gives you the ability to control when, how and by whom your cards are accessed."

Magellan's carries the RFID Blocking Passport Wallet that holds your passport, driver's license, and credit cards.

"This RFID Blocking Passport Wallet acts as a protective shield for ID, so your RF data can only be accessed when you open the wallet at approved locations."

Kena Kai Data Theft Wallet's

It's much better to be proactive than it is to be reactive. Spending a little money now just may save you a lot of money, time and headaches later.

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For a respone to this blog entry, check out http://www.rfidjournal.com/privacy/entry/3452.

My only motivation behind my articles (and book) is raising public awareness about issues that may impact others. I can’t condemn nor condone RFID technology –nor do I want to. I simply chose to apprise the public on steps they can take to in order to be proactive when guarding themselves from thieves and fraud. Oftentimes those of us, who have zeal to be involved in advocacy, realize we have little control of the overwhelming passion that drives us to use our life experiences to help others. I have been an advocate for many years and those that know of my efforts know that I have done so for many years –long before the publishing of my book and your claim that my book promotion is behind my blog -is untrue,unfounded and unfair. I can't help but note the publication you write for is "RFID Journal" and that may be why you take offense to my writing a blog that touches on RFID technology. I would hope that since you have visited this site, you would realize that my blog articles and efforts are focused on raising awareness to issues that can affect and harm innocent consumers. And that -I won't apologize for.

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