By Ken Hegan for MSN Travel

Hand stealWhoa, here’s a weird thing I didn’t know existed:

There’s a new line of anti-hacker luggage that protects your cash and identity from being looted by electronic thieves.

The Tumi ID Lock™ collection is designed to prevent ‘RFID-hacking’ [which apparently is a real problem, and not just something advertisers invent to scare seniors into buying plastic junk].  

According to, “your credit and debit cards, passport and even products you’ve purchased” contain microchips that “may emit radio frequency identification (RFID) signals that can be picked up by others via a RFID reader.”

In other words, enterprising thieves can invisibly steal your cash and I.D. by beaming an electronic signal at your suitcases.

Fortunately, Tumi is coming to your rescue (Tumi bills itself as “the leading international brand of premium travel, business and lifestyles accessories.”) They’re particularly pleased with their new TICON collection of luggage.

Red liningThat’s because they contain little red pockets with metal threads sewn into its linen lining.

Tumi calls this their ID Lock™. Simply stow your passport, credit & debit cards inside these red pockets, and the metal threads will block any signals sent by scummy identity thieves.

First off, how would thieves get an identity-stealing raygun inside an airport? Do they just hang out on the patio of the Starbucks closest to the airport and aim their rayguns at your airport taxi?

It all sounds like ‘Spy vs. Spy’ or 007 counter-espionage, especially since Tumi’s luxury luggage is constructed with tough “ballistic nylon”. I’ll just go ahead and assume that ballistic nylon defends against ballistic weapons like shotguns, bazookas, gravity bombs, and warheads. Or maybe ballistic nylon is an offensive feature that you can use to start a gunfight. Whatever the case…bravo, dear Tumi, bravo.

Their ID Lock™ feature will soon be available in select Tumi bags (they’re known for luxury handbags, messenger bags, magazine tote bags, backpacks, and rolling carry-ons), plus their wallets and card cases. Visit their website for more info.

Oh, and if you can’t afford the luggage RFID signals, Salon recommends duct-tape and aluminum foil as a cheapo homemade alternative.

Yep, they recommend protecting your credit cards and passport inside duct tape and aluminum foil shields. In other words: make a duct tape wallet.

Fine idea, I guess, though it sounds a lot like wearing an aluminum foil hat to block alien signals from outer space.

What do you think…are you worried about your cash & identity being ripped off while you’re waiting for your flight?

— Ken Hegan

Bing: How to make a duct-tape wallet

Read more of Ken’s MSN travel stories here  

Follow Ken on Twitter: @KenHegan

Luggage photos courtesy Tumi