The Wallet Blog
What is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)?
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, it is a term used to describe the process of transferring data through radio waves. The technology is used in contactless debit cards, credit cards and passports.
This has given rise to the relatively new crime of electronic pick pocketing. Thieves use devices to capture the details from unsuspecting commuters, shoppers and passers by.
The thieves simply have to bring their electronic device within range of a contactless bank card and it can then capture the owners' card details. The banking industry claim this to be limited to around 5cm however researchers from the University of Surrey have built equipment that can gather data from contactless cards at up to 45cm away. The researchers tested their equipment by concealing it within a backpack and pushing it in a trolley around a supermarket.
Martin Emms, from Newcastle University's Centre for Cybercrime and Computer Security managed to produce a phone which could strip card numbers, card owners names and in some cases even information such as the last 10 purchases made on the card and security questions asked by the bank.
This is clearly a worrying prospect. In reaction to this new type of fraud Wurkin Stiffs in the USA have begun to produce RFID protected wallets, the wallets contain a protective lining that block RFID radio waves and hence keep your card information secure. They also produce passport holders incorporating the same technology. The wallets are available to buy here: Wurkin Stiffs Wallets