Posted By Simon Montford on March 9, 2015
Wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular, especially smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart clothing, and smart jewellery. As these items are attached to the body, they're far less likely to get lost or stolen, but how about all the other smart tech that we will increasingly carry around with us like umbrellas, smartphones, wallets and smart glasses? Instead of calling them "wearables", perhaps they should be called "bringables" or "carryables". The term most often used, however for such items is the word "Appcessories".
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The good news is that you can attach a device such as a Tile, or buy one of the increasing number of appcessories that already come with either virtual tethering or GPS tracking built in (check out our directory), so hopefully appcessory theft and loss will become a thing of the past.
There is, however, one big problem with both tethering, and GPS tracking. They can only protect the items themselves (smart wallets, purses, bags etc), but not what's inside them such as cash and credit cards. If a wallet is left unattended, I guess you could use a motion detector or webcam to monitor it, but why would you leave it unattended in the first place? No, the most likely threat is something called "skimming" that will continue to be a huge problem until virtual currency becomes widely adopted, but that could take years.
In Europe there are 794 million Contactless payment cards in circulation that use RFID technology (81.6% adoption), and over 12.2 million terminals that accept these cards (99% adoption). According to Taylor Sicard, founder of Tvylor Wallet, a study was done in the States which found that it was possible to obtain credit card numbers, expiry dates, names, and pin numbers in a very short space of time using nothing other than an $8 (£5) scanner! This was done from a range of over 4.5 meters (14.8ft) away. In 2013 over 11.5 million people in the States were affected by identity fraud, resulting in $24.7 billion worth of losses, and according to the National Fraud Authority, the UK total is £3.3 billion.
One way to prevent "RFID skimming" is to use a wallet that blocks the operational frequencies of cards that use RFID. One such wallet, that contains a special lining made of copper and aluminum, is the Tvylor Wallet that is available to pre-order on Kickstarter. Prices start at $20 (£13), however the RRP is expected to be around $50 (£33).
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