RFID Protective cards – understand the difference before you buy.
Over the past few months it has come to our attention that consumers are judging the effectiveness of the RFID protective cards they are purchasing against retail point of sale terminals.
Based on this method of testing these RFID Protective cards give the appearance of being very effective at blocking a transaction being processed and have received a number of very positive reviews.
The truth is that if you place two PayPass cards together and present them to a retail (tap & go) terminal the transaction will NOT go through. This is so the consumer can make the decision of which card they wish to present to the terminal. Don’t be fooled though, any standard reader (like the one in the image to the right) that can be purchased online will not give you this option and will take the information off the first card that responds to its requests. These readers have anti-collision software so it does not matter how many cards are being interrogated it will always get at least one.
The criminals who perpetrate this electronic pickpocket crime would rarely use a retail style (tap & go) terminal to skim, they are more likely to use a standard off the shelf reader and ‘amp up’ the antenna and signal strength.
The way in which some of these cards are marketed and the terms that they use to boost the hype imply that the cards are loaded with top secret and patented technology some even drop names such as “NASA” to increase their worth.
The truth is actually quite different. Often a standard programable RFID card worth about $0.75 is programmed with essentially garbage in an attempt to confuse the terminal which is trying to interrogate it. This has been shown to be inconsistent in its protective ability and thus cannot reliably support the claims that are being made.
As there is no regulatory body governing the standards of products in this field, it has been left open for anybody to jump on board and try to make a quick dollar. The few companies that have invested significantly in research and development to effectively protect the consumer have been left trying to defend and differentiate their products from those who have clearly blurred the lines and cannot support or prove the claims that are being made. The sooner this industry can be regulated the better.
Where does this leave you? the best advice is to research the product you are considering purchasing.
If it claims to Jam does it have FCC approval?
If it claims to have patented technology is there a reference to a patent? (don’t be fooled by a ™ next to a word, that does not constitute a patent but merely a logo or term being trademarked)
If it claims to be active does it have a battery?
As a consumer you must do your research and due diligence until there is a regulatory body who can help govern the claims being made. Protecting your identity from theft is a serious business and you should only look for companies and products who are serious about protecting your data & not who just want to jump on the band wagon for a quick dollar.
The decision is ultimately yours as to how much worth protecting your personal data is to you.