Cybersecurity, Cash and this Quarter’s Challenge
Just before Christmas an article on the news caught my attention. An expert in cybersecurity was warning the public about a scam. Apparently thieves can hang out in public spaces armed with bank card readers. As they pass through crowds the readers are searching for unprotected cards (credit or debit) which when detected are automatically scanned. The cards are debited with small random amounts and when the transaction appears on statements the victim tends to ignore them, thinking they had perhaps one more coffee which they forgot about or alternatively that the theft is too small to report to the financial institution. He mentioned that lots of money is stolen this way and the thieves are never caught. Asked whether there are ways of safeguarding an individual’s cards, he mentioned that there were special wallets available (I checked these out and they are very expensive) or as a cheap alternative, placing aluminium (aluminum) foil around the card will work. In the interests of science and before I started this post, I had my son check this out and yes, it does work. When Carlene proposed this quarter’s challenge, and having recoiled at the price of the special wallet, I decided it was time to put my thinking cap on and come up with an alternative which could be made from scraps of fabric and a few extras. I thought I would share the outcome and also a photographic guide on how to make one if you would like to.
The project is made up of two halves
- first of all, make the card pockets for inside the wallet. There are two sets of pockets, each containing space for 3 cards. The cards slip into the pockets with the short side facing out, the card is unlikely to easily slip out that way. The two pockets are then lined so that you have space to keep your paper money (bills) when the wallet is fully constructed.
- then the front section is made. This is where the aluminium foil is placed and attached to the inside lining of the front section with two sided stabilizer. A front cover is then cut out, hems turned and sewn to both the inside lining and the card pockets.
Here is what is needed for this project:
For the pocket:
- piece of cotton fabric measuring 60cm by 16cm
- matching or coordinating fabric for the back of the pocket approximately 24cm by 20cm
- light weight iron on interfacing (one sided)
For the cover:
- lining material approximately 20cm by 18cm
- piece of aluminium foil 20cm by 18cm
- Double sided stabiliser 20cm by 18cm or slightly smaller (to avoid marking your ironing board and iron.
- Cover fabric of your choice
- Fabric scissors,
- Other scissors for cutting up the foil
- Small clamps (or small pegs will work too)
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Card (bank or ID card) for measuring depth of pockets
- tailors chalk
- sewing machine with matching thread and heavy duty needle.
Tip: I kept all my fabrics light to medium weight so that the machine could handle the thick layers at the final stage of sewing.
Here are step by step photos for putting the wallet together. I am presenting each photo separately so apologies for this rather long post (there are lots of photos but I think each one is important). Each photo has some instructions/clarifications. If you decide to make the wallet, please check out the photos and let me know if anything needs further clarification before you start the project.
I thought it might be fun to make a second wallet and to wet felt a cover for it. I basically followed the instructions for the interior of the wallet except this time I hemmed the internal fabric (the red fabric) and used this to secure the pockets. I wet felted a rectangle using merino wool, loose weave cotton, and batting and shrunk it to fit the wallet. Once this was dry and ironed I did some random stitching all over it with red cotton thread. I then sewed the two pieces together. Here are some photos of the result:
The wallet cover – photo was taken at an angle so it looks a bit wonky. You may need to focus in on the stitching if you want to see the various patterns.
The front of the wallet:
Finally, the inside of the wallet. I decided to have a bit of fun and colour co-ordinate it!
12 thoughts on “Cybersecurity, Cash and this Quarter’s Challenge”
Fantastic idea Helene and very well executed! Great tutorial too. Both the fabric and felt exterior look good – which one feels best in the hand?
You can now venture out secure in the knowledge that no thief can get at your cards 🙂
Forgot to say that this is a superb challenge piece!
The jury is out on which one is best at this point. The fabric one is nice a slim and fits any size bag or pocket. Plus the fabric is of sentimental value, both because of the donor (my husband’s aunt, who welcomed me into the family and treated me like one of her nieces) and the fact that it is one of the old fabrics from House of Frazier. On the other hand, the felted one is nice and warm and chunky – it will be hard to lose it in a handbag. Perhaps one for winter and one for the summer.
What an amazing idea…. you are always in creative mode… spirals and wallets…what will you come up with next
I’m enjoying the fun of being creative again Breda. Last year my makes were a bit thin on the grounds so just getting back into the swing of things.
mmmmm will have to put the thinking cap (the aluminium one) on and see what I can come up with. lol
Looks a great idea Helene. I think I might made a slight alteration and add a flap from the outside top to come down on the inside to prevent the cards sliding out when you don’t want them too. I have difficulty getting cards out of these sorts of pockets – my fingers don’t want to work at that – so I’d make the pockets a little less snug I think.
On the whole, a very good result. Add it to my list.
That’s an excellent idea Ann, especially if you have difficulty using your fingers. The card spaces are pretty tight to hold the cards securely so if you were to make it looser a flap would be ideal – good call.
What a great idea, Hélène. You could definitely sell these for those who don’t want to spend ridiculous amounts of money on those expensive wallets 😀
(Hm, now I wonder if these scanners work on phones? I seldom use my card anymore, only my Apple Pay…)
Thanks for the detailed instructions!
Thanks a million Leonor.
you have raised a very valid question about the safety of the phone payment systems. I would like to think that whatever anti-virus system in situ keeps them safe. That said, so many of the internet connections are free wifi it does make sense to ask the question. I would be really interested to hear that particular answer.
I’ve just done a quick search online and one of the main things they tell you to avoid is public wifi systems when making purchases. I avoid them at all whenever possible, so it’s an ingrained habit! Here’s hoping I won’t have to wrap my iPhone in foil 🙂
These scammers need to put their brain power into something positive. What would happen if instead of stealing, they created ways to protect people? But I guess that won’t happen so you have created a way to keep them at bay. I will have to agree that I need to buy one of yours as I don’t have time to sew my own.
I agree Ruth. I imagine it would involved a humanitarian outlook on their part but what greatness could be achieved. Happy to send you one if you would like one. 🙂