You might be surprised to find out what common products now have RFID chips in side of them. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and most commonly used on toll roads for collecting your credit card information as you pass through the toll without having to come to a complete stop. This has made driving on toll roads much more convenient, but that same technology can pick up an RFID signal from over 300 feet away. In fact, you might even have other RFID chips in your car that those same scanners could pick up and someone could find out more about you than you want them to know.
Did you know that many driver’s licenses and passports have RFID chips inside them too. This means that anyone with an RFID transmitter (which can easily be picked up on eBay) can find out who you are from the distance without even having to bump into you. The way it works is the transmitter will send a special signal to the surrounding area, and if any RFID chips are in the vicinity it will send back a ping along with the information it contains. Some crooks are using the RFID chips in your car keys to get access to your car while you are shopping. This is usually a two man team and it is much more high-tech than other forms of car theft, but it still happens. It should be noted that car’s with RFID ignition systems have had a 90% reduction rate in car thefts, but don’t think you are not vulnerable just because you have such a vehicle.
RFID chips are even commonly found in car tires today. This technology allows car owners to monitor the tire pressure in their cars, but the RFID signal also contains the car’s VIN number and you can be tracked by the simple signal coming out of your tires. The vulnerability here is that the VIN number on your car is connected to your name and personal information about the vehicle, and someone with the right RFID tools can freely get all of that data without any trouble.
Many retail stores are contemplating using RFID technology to keep track of inventory as well. This means that jeans and shirts will soon have RFID chips so an employee can just scan a shelf at one time and know exactly what is left and what needs to be ordered. The problem is that if retail stores have RFID scanners in them, they can essentially be scanning customers as they walk around and find out their identity through their driver’s license. They will know the names of people in their store who have not even purchased anything yet. This might seem innocuous to you, but remember that many identity thieves have this same technology. And if these RFID chips remain on the jeans you just bought, that chip will be able to get picked up when a criminal passes by your house, even if you threw it out and it’s sitting in the trash. The thief will know that you just bought a pair of $100 jeans.