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Identity Theft and RFID

July 16, 2009

I got my new passport a couple of weeks ago – it’s one of those new electronic passports. The pamphlet that came with it said I could be ‘assured of the fastest and most efficient processing’ when going through customs for ‘greater border protection and security’. I just go through the line with the special readers and poof – I’m done.

I thought that was a handy feature until I did some research on the ‘special readers’ and how the electronic process works. My passport has a chip in it that emits radio frequency identification (RFID) waves. This technology is in the newer passports,  PASS cards, some student or work ID cards, newer driver’s licenses in a handful of states and pretty much any card that you just flash at a reader and it processes.

Once again, technology is making our lives easier and faster. This is just another reason why identity theft continues to be on the rise and thieves can just as easily use this technology to steal our information. You can buy an RFID reader on eBay and collect information on anyone with an electronic card who are within 20′-30′. Yikes.. you might as well just put a sign on your back.

Duct tape and aluminum foil passport case

Homemade and Ugly – but it works!

So I wondered what I could do to protect myself from identity thieves while I was carrying my passport and found an article that tells you how to make a wallet that blocks RFID – http://www.rpi-polymath.com/ducttape/RFIDWallet.php. It says that a layer of aluminum foil will work. I think I’ll make myself a special passport holder just to be on the safe side!

Here’s another good article on RFID and identity theft: http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1719439/id_chips_raise_concerns_over_identity_theft/

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