Sarah Campbell – Protecting Personal Information

Credit Cards

Sarah Campbell MPPKENORA – This past weekend I attended both the Red Lake Trade Show and the Dryden Sport and Home Show. At both events I had the opportunity to speak with many constituents about the upcoming budget and issues such as hydro prices, the Experimental Lakes Area, and maximizing the benefits of our mineral wealth.

While these issues are important, there is one issue that I raised that is not political: protecting your personal information.
Not everyone is aware, but the latest generation of bank and credit cards contain a technology – Radio Frequency Identification (or RFID for short) – that emit radio signals with pieces of personal information.
These signals make it convenient to pay for many small purchases, by simply tapping the card on the payment terminal, but also provide an additional convenience for potential identity thieves.
In the past, thieves would actually have to swipe cards into a fake reader to steal the information but now, with RFID technology, they can capture that same information by walking past you in a mall, standing behind you in a line or even bumping into you in the street.
While many credit and bank card issuing companies offer protection, such as encrypted signals and balance protection, these safeguards can vary and its best to take small, simple precautions that may help you down the line.
One way you can help protect your information is through RFID signal blocking sleeves. These sleeves contain special foils that ensure that the signal emitted from the cards do not leave your wallet or your purse. 
In hopes of protecting consumers, I have ordered a number of these sleeves that are available to the public free of charge through my offices in Dryden, Fort Frances and Kenora, my booths at fairs and trade shows across the region, or by calling 1-800-465-8501.
Before being elected I much of the work I did, both professionally and on a volunteer basis, was as an advocate for consumer awareness, particularly in the case of door-to-door energy retailers. While my position may have changed, I still believe very strongly in ensuring consumers are protected and these RFID sleeves are a way I believe I can help out.
Another thing you can do is call your bank and lower your daily RFID transaction limit to a lower amount, such as $10 or $20. If you do not plan on using tap and pay options you can lower your limit to zero, however keep in mind that such a move will not stop your card from emitting the signal. 
RFID technology is not going away. In fact, the use of this technology is ever-spreading, with most banks and credit cards already relying heavily on the technology and as of July 1 of this year all newly issued Canadian Passports will contain RFID technology as well.
There is no reason to panic, as a little knowledge can go a long way. It is my hope that by writing this many more people will become aware and take steps to safeguard themselves and their personal information.

Sarah Campbell MPP

Sarah Campbell MPP

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Sarah Campbell is a Canadian politician, who was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 2011 election. She represents the electoral district of Kenora—Rainy River as a member of the Ontario New Democratic Party caucus