The Lock Wallet

A friend of mine actually bought one of those RFID-blocking wallets last week, and over the weekend texted me telling me I should get one and how useful they are.

Are they effective? Mostly, yes, though some are just made of heavy paper and won't actually work. Are they necessary? Probably not, though if you think about it, the fact that you can hold your card up to a reader at Dairy Queen even while it's still inside of your unopened wallet and a quick chirp tells you that you have just sent them $18.32 of your money is an indication that at it is possible for a thief to use a similar reader and stand next to you and "get paid" the same as Dairy Queen did. After all, as anybody who has blindly tapped and realized that the machine had the wrong price on it knows that you don't have to verify the transaction with anybody before you pay up.

Regardles, look at it from First Principles. Whenever somebody has to lie to sell you something, they're probably a scam. So with that in mind, take a look at the commercial for the "Lock Wallet", one of the many RFID-blocking wallets you can find online.

How far into that video did you watch? Regardless of how long you watched it, I bet you saw the whopper of a lie they opened up with.

Let's follow the zero's here. $190,000,000,000,000. That's a big number. That's $190,000,000,000 thousand. That's $190,000,000 million. $190,000 billion. Yes indeed, we're talking one hundred and ninety trillion dollars of credit card fraud. Isn't that scary?

You're right to be scared. That's 432 times higher than Canada's entire rate of credit card debt of C$572 billion ($439.78 billion US). In fact, it's not only higher than Canada and the U.S. card debt combined, it's actually higher than the total amount of credit card debt on the planet. In fact it's more than the global GDP and oh wait a minute, they completely made that number up didn't they?

Yeah, fraud accounts for about $16 billion a year in the United States which isn't nothing, but probably doesn't sell as many RFID wallets. Besides, the biggest source of fraud is from the "trusted source": skimming of ATMs or convenience store tills.

No, the best defense against fraud is to report any suspicious purchases. Which almost never happens because your bank catches the person using your credit card number long before you do. I've lost count of how many times I've discovered my card isn't working and when I finally get a hold of the VISA security team it's to learn my card has been buying gas from Canadian Tire in Brampton Ontario and they already disabled the card and flagged it to alert law enforcement. Most likely, by the time I get my replacement card a few days later the perpetrators are already caught. Police are starting to make headway actually catching these guys.

So go buy the $5 wallet at the leather store in the mall. There isn't a 190 trillion dollar problem that you need to worry about solving. Unless it's disposing our useless tit of a Prime Minister over his upcoming federal deficit...