Do e-Passports and RFID Credit Cards put You at Risk for Identity Theft?

Learn how to stay safe from identity theft by protecting your e-passports and RFID cards

Americans love convenience and speed. But sometimes it comes at the risk of identity theft. If you own an e-passport or RFID cards, you may be transmitting information to thieves without even knowing it. Learn the risks of using RFID cards and what you can do about to avoid identity theft.

Are You At Risk?

If you're using e-passports, credit cards, or enhanced driver's licenses with RFID chips, you are at risk. RFID chips are small microchips with your personal information. These chips are always 'listening' for a radio signal sent by transceivers or RFID readers. They're very convenient. The owners of these cards can have their information scanned without ever taking the card out of their purse or wallet.

Obviously, this has its good and bad points. One bad point is the cards begin transmitting data when opened even a half inch. Some chips transmit data as far away as several feet. Agencies that issue these cards claim the metallic sheathed or alloy envelopes that come with the cards, protect your information. Testing shows otherwise.

RSA Laboratories, a data security company in Bedford, Massachusetts, tested the cards. According to RSA, some RFID cards are readable under certain circumstances such as a crumpled envelope.

This means that you need to keep the protective sleeve of your cards in perfect shape. Keeping your envelope in good condition and avoiding identity theft is a tricky proposition when you consider how many times you must show your driver's license or use your credit card.

As RFID cards are used more and more, the manufactures of these cards work towards testing and improving them. By the time these cards become mainstream, they are confident in having the bugs worked and keeping you safe from the risk of identity theft.

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