How to Block RFID Signals

by Aaron Charles
More than 35 million RFID-enabled cards circulate in the U.S.

More than 35 million RFID-enabled cards circulate in the U.S.

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Your credit and debit cards, passport and even products you've purchased that are sitting in your home or car may emit radio frequency identification (RFID) signals that can be picked by others via a RFID reader. But you can block these signals either by purchasing an RFID signal blocking device or making your own device.

Step 1

Purchase a protective sleeve. Search out companies who sell RFID signal blocking sleeves, such as RFD Shield, ID Stronghold, DIFRwear or Theft Defender (links in Resources). Choose a basic sleeve that covers debit or credit cards, an RFID-enabled identity badge or passports.

Step 2

Craft your own protective device. Make RFID-resistant duct tape by laying out a sheet of aluminum foil. Then apply strips of duct tape to the foil. Wrap the RFID-resistant tape around your wallet or whatever contains your credit or debit cards, etc., and secure with tape. Or simply wrap aluminum foil around whatever it is you want to shield.

Step 3

Purchase a protective wallet, an aluminum case or a portfolio-style device that holds a passport and multiple debit or credit cards. Visit the websites of the companies listed in Step 1 for the latest available stock. Be aware, however, that these devices tend to cost more than the simpler protective sleeves and are typically bulkier and more prone to setting off metal detectors.

Warning

  • Consumer Reports notes that while RFID shielding devices make it harder for snoops and thieves to read RFID transmissions from your credit or debit cards or passports, they don't appear to block them completely and they appear to be inconsistent in their effectiveness.

About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images