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Just because you make it home from the mall with your credit card safely stashed in your wallet doesn’t mean your bank information hasn’t been stolen.These days, thieves are able to quickly and inconspicuously scan consumers’ wallets with a simple device that can read RFID codes—the chip that carries important account information on driver’s licenses, military IDs, passports, insurance cards and bank cards.
There are plenty of scanner-proof wallets on the market, but they often cost upwards of $25.
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education is making protection more affordable with a new line of laminated sleeves designed to act, for lack of a better analogy, like a condom for your cards, the group says.
The so-called Anti-RFID Credit/Debit Card Sleeves cost $10 for a 10-pack and keep scanners at bay with a layer of poly film and RFID shielding substrate.
No matter how close scanners come to your wallet, they won’t be able to leach any of your data.
It’s easy enough to spot a greasy hand rifling through your purse on the subway, but these electronic pickpockets blend in with any other passerby with their nose in a tablet computer or smartphone.
“The hand held RFID scanners look like a small laptop notebook,” according to the ICFE. “All the user needs to do is stand near an entrance to a bank or store and scan the unprotected cards of unsuspecting consumers.”
And holiday season is prime hunting grounds for scammers, as consumers will be more distracted and crowds make it easier for thieves to get close to victims.