The fashion industry is joining the battle against identity theft. Designers are introducing products made with special fabrics that block thieves from reading information from the chips embedded in our credit cards and passports.
These chips are intended to prevent counterfeiting and identity theft. Known as radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, they transmit an encrypted version of your credit card or passport information to a merchant's or customs agent's chip reader. But they can sometimes leave us vulnerable to ID thieves. Criminals can use a special scanner to skim personal information while your cards and passport are tucked safely in your wallet or purse.
That's where Betabrand's Ready Active jeans come in. They're made with a fabric lining in the front and back pockets that blocks RFID readers. A collaboration between security company Norton and clothing retailer Betabrand, these crime-fighting pants were crowd-funded and will be ready to ship in February. The company is also working on a blazer with an RFID-blocking pocket.
If a vest better suits your look, the RFID Travel Vest by Scottevest also boasts an RFID-blocking pocket. The vest includes 26 pockets (including some hidden ones), so you can also protect items like smartphones and travel documents from old-fashioned, low-tech pickpocketing, too.
However, it's not just clothing. Macy's has a new line dedicated to protecting your identity in style. This high-end collection includes luxury leather handbags, briefcases and wallets that not only have RFID-blocking technology but also have fingerprint recognition and GPS.
For those who find the price tags on these items a bit too steep, there's always the RFID-blocking wallet case. Some say that even wrapping your cards in aluminum foil protects them. Thieves who have this special equipment can often go longer without being detected because victims may be unaware their card or ID was compromised in the first place. So any type of protection helps.