WILL SMITH BLOG: STAYING SAFE OFF THE FIELD
By WILL SMITH
Every fan knows NFL players wear a helmet and pads on the field for protection, but are you aware of the steps we take to protect ourselves off the field?
That's the topic my technology blog this week -- Electronic Pickpocketing and preventing this new crime with a "secure wallet" that has become popular with many players. These leather wallets protect players from people who use scanning devices to scan for credit card cards embedded with RFID chips (RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification) right out in public.
They are able to "pickpocket" you without touching you, sometimes just by walking within range of the frequency to connect with your chipped-card, and steal personal information, as well as enough credit card information to make a purchase, as demonstrated on several YouTube videos and news reports.
Criminals can steal the information by targeting crowds, like at airports, our at stadiums, or when someone is just using their credit card at a gas pump, but the secure wallet jams the frequency.
This is particularly important for NFL players. You'd be surprised how many identity thefts happen with professional athletes, crazy stuff with credit card numbers being lifted and people running up a tab or spending a couple grand here and there. You have no clue it has happened until you use the card and find out you're over your limit. It's the perfect crime.
High-profile people are always going to be targeted by these types of scammers. We're natural targets, because people see the salaries we earn-- they know we have credit.
We veterans try to talk to younger players about this, and remind them to be careful whenever they use a credit card, no matter where they are. The NFL also addresses these kinds of issues with the new players, at the rookie symposium every season, and do a great job.
I've been using a secure wallet from IDStronghold.com for three months now. I'm always up for trying something new from the technology world, and with this system you it prevents the crime from happening-- it blocks the "Electronic Pickpocket," where other systems or services send e-mail anytime something is done with your credit card account. I think both should work together-- I'd rather not receive an email telling me I've been ripped off. I'd rather prevent it, like prevent D.
Another security measure that's made available to players on every team through the league is a free security test for your home. A company that's contracted by the NFL sends someone to go through your entire house and make sure you're safe from home invasion and robberies. When you know you're family is safe, you are able to focus on your job. It's priceless. I love my family-- they are my world.
That's another situation where NFL players perhaps are at more risk than the general population, because anyone can easily know when you're out of town for a road game. They know you're not at home, if they know where you live.
And that's another thing to consider -- avoiding letting people know where you live. Not everything belongs on Facebook or Twitter.
The New Orleans Saints DE explores his love for the latest gadgets throughout the season in his "The Tech Playbook with Will Smith" blog. Smith enters his ninth season in New Orleans with 61.5 career sacks. He ranks among the greatest defensive linemen in Saints history and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2006. The 6-3, 282-pound Smith has been a defensive captain for New Orleans since 2007 and was a three-year starter at Ohio State.