by Niles Reddick
My first run in with fraud was when I reconciled my debit charges online (Yes, I really do reconcile them because every dime adds up) with what I’d recorded in my checkbook Yes, I still keep an old school checkbook for a handful of bills I don’t want to pay online). I called the bank and told the assistant the five-dollar charge to a Venmo account in New York was bogus, and she removed it and told me to sign a form next time I come. The next fraudulent charge was a ten-dollar one to a company I’d never heard of in California, and I double checked with my wife to see if it was one of her online purchases. It wasn’t, and since I hadn’t gone by to sign the first form, I stopped by at lunch and asked them to remove this charge as well. They complied and I signed both forms.
When Harry, one of the vice President’s I knew from the Lion’s Club, saw me with the administrative assistant at her round desk near the entrance where the tile merges into carpet, he left his maroon leather rolling chair behind his desk and came out to say hello.
“You know what you need, don’t you?” he asked. “What?”
“One of those RFID wallets.”
“It’s a wallet that protects your credit card and other info from being scanned by radio frequency identification.”
“Never heard of it.”
“That may be how you’ve been charged twice against your debit card. It started as a way for businesses to track inventory, but it morphed into all these other uses and is used by criminals. The RFID wallets block and protect your credit cards, among other things.”
“Where did you get yours?”
“Got mine at The Men’s Shop in the mall. It’s nice-looking, high-quality leather. Soon, they’ll be mass produced in all the stores.”
“I appreciate the tip.”
On my way home from work, I stopped by The Men’s Shop. I was flabbergasted the wallets were one hundred fifty dollars, but I bought one anyway, told the clerk it was high tech snake oil, and he’d half-smiled. I assumed Harry had probably invested in wallet stock, and as soon as criminals realized society was onto their scams, they’d hopscotch ahead to the next new trick to steal.