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The Magellan’s catalog is full of RFID stuff (crap?). What’s the verdict?

Posted by
846 posts

American paranoia is a weird thing. I researched the topic thoroughly a few months ago and concluded the amount of information that can be successfully scanned from RFID chips is so limited as to be almost useless. The real threats to travelers are skilled pickpockets, leaving valuables exposed and vulnerable, and skimmers installed on or in credit card handlers and ATM systems; these pull the card info and record your PIN as you enter it.

If you do an extended search for “is RFID a real threat?” be sure to check the dates on the articles. Most of the hysteria originated in 2009 and 2010 and those web pages keep floating to the top of searches. Also interesting is the differences between RFID cards, EMV cards, swipe and PIN cards. What makes RFID crime unlikely is the amount of work involved to obtain and then attempt to exploit the information acquired.

Posted by
1649 posts

It has been a good marketing "tool" (scare) for the companies making security purses & wallets.

The bags are good for the purpose of having good (locking) zippers and pockets to put your dailies in. They have a "mesh" in the vulnerable areas and the shoulder strap is slash proof with a regular cutter.

One experienced traveler - "Wolter's World commented on a video once that his Mother-in-law's purse had slash marks. That was years ago. But, the perps may be getting craftier - getting a seam cutter or similar to 'silently' cut seams in a very crowded, distracted area and have their pick of the lot.

A forum poster relayed such an instance - she had a security purse, but found out later the seams on her purse were cut. She did not come back to answer inquiries, but, anyway, it could happen none-the-less.

Keep it simple. Keep aware as much as you can. When traveling in crowds, and you must carry extra money/cards/tickets/PP, put them in your money belt or similar under your pants. Keep just enough in your day purse/bag, so that if anything gets picked, you won't be out a ton. Anything stolen from our person is valuable, but, if a thief gets €20 or so, it's not a huge loss compared to hundreds plus cards, ID's, etc.

Posted by
3271 posts

I have no idea of (or interest in) whatever RFID "stuff" is in the catalogue. But I suspect it is likely anti RFID theft devices. Unnecessary. Get any good anti theft device and forget about paying extra for the RFID protection.

If you're that worried about information theft, wrap your cards in a bit of tin foil.

Posted by
279 posts

The catalog is selling “anti” RFID stuff. Pages and pages. Your input confirms my impression. Marketing BS.

Posted by
5262 posts

You got it right, Mike. Keep your valuables under clothing, with a money belt or neck wallet.

Posted by
31471 posts


There is a small risk that RFID cards can be compromised - . However, I've never heard of this actually happening and I suspect the risk is probably very minimal.

If your cards don't have the "radio wave" symbol, they don't have RFID chips so no risk at all. Note that this is different than the larger contact chips used in Chip & PIN (EMV) cards, as in this photo - . Those have to be in physical contact with a reader, so there's no risk of those being scanned.

Posted by
607 posts

Our enhanced drivers licences in British Columbia have an RFID chip. When it is issued it comes with a foil sleeve with written instructions to keep the card in the sleeve to protect the info. When i cross the US-Can border, i take the card out and the border scanner can scan it from about 6 feet away.

I can buy about a dozen of these foil sleeves off of the internet for about a buck. Cheap. It is too much hassle to insert and remove cards from individual sleeves so i put one inside on each side of the wallet so when the wallet is closed it forms a protective sandwich. Once the cards are inside they cannot be read, not my drivers licence at the border or my rfid elevator card. So i assume the credit cards are also protected. This is my home made rfid wallet. If i had to buy a new wallet, the price of a new rfid wallet is about the same as a non-rfid wallet. So why not buy one with the protection.

I don't believe crooks can decrypt the security features of a modern RFID chip credit card... yet. I would never underestimate the enginuity of criminals to develop the technology. For about 20 cents i can prevent them from gaining access. Small price to pay for a very simple effective solution.