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Make your own RFID blocking pouch

Gore, New Zealand
Level Contributor
326 posts
3 reviews
1 helpful vote
Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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Just been looking at the RFID blocking wallets here......MAN they are so expensive.

I read somewhere that you can make your own using aluminium foil. Has anyone tried this then tested it to see if it does block?

I have rolls of adhesive foil tape, and loads of scrapbook paper I could easily make an envelope to hold my credit cards, and my passport.

What do you think?

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
109,328 posts
16 reviews
17 helpful votes
1. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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An RFID blocker is not needed unless you have a "wave and pay" card. Cards that have to be inserted into a reader cannot be read by a remote device. But wrapping the card in alfoil should be enough to block it.

Having said that, I think it is unlikely that there is a major security risk. Australia has had "wave and pay" cards for a couple of years now, and there have been no reports of massive fraud.

Gore, New Zealand
Level Contributor
326 posts
3 reviews
1 helpful vote
2. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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Thanks

This was interesting....I have a wave pay card , so thought I would ring my bank to see about whether they supply any RFID blocking sleeves.

They have never heard of them ! Woman told me it was a scam and is not a problem . She said she wouldn't waste her money on one.... But if I wanted to for peace of mind , then buying one would be ok.

Surely if it is a problem, then the banks should know about it? And provide protection for fraud?

Is the whole RFID blocking business a farce? Trying to lure travellers into depending unnecessary $$$$????

Has anyone actually been "hit" by a scanning fraud with a card???

Something to investigate further I think

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
109,328 posts
16 reviews
17 helpful votes
3. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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>>Is the whole RFID blocking business a farce? Trying to lure travellers into depending unnecessary $$$$???? <<

In my opinion, yes. Think how close your card has to be to the reader as you wave it. How often will someone get a similar piece of equipment that close to you without you noticing?

RFID blockers are in the same category as pre-loaded travel money cards, surge protectors, and fat-busting pills.They are all ways of legally separating the gullible from their money.

End of rant...

Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
2,237 posts
13 reviews
5 helpful votes
4. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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We had the discussion in my home country when we introduced the RFID in our passports. People went crazy after scientists said they have read data from it. What they did not understand was that it was in a scientific environment with a reader as big as a shopping bag which had to come like 5cm to the passport. And all they could read was the name, birth date and passport number. Wow! But people really thought that now their bus driver can copy the passport and you would read heated comments in the news. So far not a single case where this actually happened.

So in my eyes also a farce and a waste of money.

Austin, Canada
Level Contributor
51,758 posts
890 reviews
515 helpful votes
5. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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I have a Nexus Canadian card (allows me to enter the country by talking to a machine and not having to even carry my passport). It comes with a sleeve to protect it. When I take it out of the sleeve, even a few feet from the machine, it is already greeting me. So it has a reasonable range.

As my passport, Nexus card and credit cards emit, I can't think of anything more valuable than these things. So I'd rather protect them. Do not underestimate thieves' ability to catch up with technology.

Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
Level Contributor
7,461 posts
6. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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I carry a RFID Amex card, US Passport card and work badge in my wallet and really don't worry about any of them. If the Amex is stolen I really don't care as I am not liable for charges. It would be a minor pain to cancel the card, and I always have backup cards with me. Passport is heavily encrypted to the point where it would be much easier to physically steal my wallet vs. follow me around with a ton of electronics gear (see below). Work badge opens the front door and does not contain any personal or company data. SIde doors are never locked anyway (24/7 operation) so no real risk there.

Good article on all of the hurdles that it would take to steal your RFID info. http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=1626175 Old fashioned physical theft of your property or hacking of poorly secured databases will be much more cost effective for thieves.

Austin, Canada
Level Contributor
51,758 posts
890 reviews
515 helpful votes
7. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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It is an interesting coincidence that I was buying a new wallet this week. Getting one with RFID blocking was only a few bucks more. Small price to pay to be safe.

Austin, Canada
Level Contributor
51,758 posts
890 reviews
515 helpful votes
8. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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@tev9999 - interesting article but this deals with the US passport only which is already protected with a protected sleeve. I guess there is a reason why the US government thought it was necessary to have a protective sleeve. This deal with someone getting your personal info to open a bank account and apply for a credit card. Not the easy way as compared to just cloning your credit card.

Little San Salvador...
Level Contributor
239 posts
1 review
1 helpful vote
9. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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Ignore comments that say it is not necessary. They are based on ignorance of the issue. Here is a video of a guy showing how easy it is. He is using simple set up easily bought online for $100. More sophisticated scanners can do the same from a greater distance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjOduug-SC8

Here's another video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVerEMooek8

It is however easy to guard against. Simply put a layer of aluminum foil inside your wallet and the scanner can't read anything. No need to buy a special wallet or sleeves. I have a double layer of aluminum foil in the billfold part of my wallet. When I fold my wallet (tri-fold type as here: https://www.google.ca/search?q=trifold+wallet&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=9IVZUpuGCYqwygHR4YHgDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CFkQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=687&dpr=1 ) with the cards in the inside fold section, that means there are two layers of foil on one side and 4 on the other (that's the outside side when in my pocket). Impossible to scan.

So, bottom line. It is quite easy for someone to scan your card, that is not in debate. It can then be used for fraudulent transactions. Now here is the IMPORTANT part. It doesn't matter if you won't end up out of pocket as the card issuer will eventually credit your card if you persist in saying you did not make the transaction in question. YOU will still have the hassle of dealing with it. Conclusion: It will take you all of 5 minutes max to put some foil in your wallet and avoid the while thing however unlikely you think it might be to begin with.

What possible reason could anyone with an RFID card have to not do so that makes sense? An ounce of prevention......................

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
109,328 posts
16 reviews
17 helpful votes
10. Re: Make your own RFID blocking pouch
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>>Here is a video of a guy showing how easy it is.<<

If it that easy, why are there not thousands of people doing it and processing millions of fraudulent transactions?

Look in the video: the scanning gadget has to be almost in touch with the card for it to work. I reckon I would notice someone who tried to get that near with a gizmo the size of an iPad.

RFID as used in credit and debit cards works only at very short range.

Edited: 7 years ago
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