Hi, we're Kevin Bartczak and Andy Biro,
We're two friends with years of experience implementing security solutions in commercial and government business. A few months ago, we were talking about yet another breach of credit, debit and identity card security. We were frustrated with how the escalating fraud levels are currently hurting so many ordinary, normal people. Almost without exception, nearly every one of these people thought identity theft and credit card fraud would never happen to them, because it isn't well known just how easy it is.
At least, not by people on the right side of the law.
We decided we wanted to help stop the rising levels of fraud dead in its tracks. So we decided to test some ideas of how normal people could protect the cards they normally carried in a wallet or purse. It wasn't easy. It took in-depth experimentation, testing and consulting with specialists to find something affordable and effective enough for everyone. Finally, we believe we've managed to find a simple, but effective solution.
The result is GarbleCard.
GarbleCard uses some high tech developed by th US Department of Defense, to block the signal being read from any nearby RFID chip. That's the chip you see on your credit cards these days, as well as in drivers licenses, passports, access cards and more.
Unlike anything else out there right now, GarbleCard works with any wallet, regardless of which side of the card it's on, cheaply, reliably and without bulking up your current wallet or needing any kind of batteries. GarbleCard is also the only solution that blocks both methods of reading your card: RFID and the traditional magnetic strip on the back. Because of the unique design though you can still use both wherever they were actually meant to be used (ie buying something with your credit card)..
At the end of the day, this keeps random people with a cheap card reader from buying stuff with your credit cards, stealing your identity for illegal purposes, getting access to places only you should have access to and more.
Now, all we need is your help to get the first batch mass produced and protecting people everywhere. But what actually is GarbleCard, and how do we know it protects against fraud that can affect you personally? Read this and find out:
When Victims Include a Chief Justice, How at Risk are You?
No one is safe from identity theft -- not even a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.Recently, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts confirmed to The Associated Press, that his credit card account numbers had been compromised. He wasn't even able to buy a coffee without having to pay in Cash when he found out. Most likely it was by a criminal who had managed to fraudulently get his card details, possibly from it's smart chip or magnetic stripe, and had already been in the process of using them for illegal purposes.
So, let me ask you a question. Do you use a credit card, passport or driver’s license with a chip or magnetic stripe on it? Chances are you actually have more than one. According to the Smart Card Association, about 100 million RFID enabled cards in are circulation under various names. Check your cards right now. Visa calls them “PayWave”, Mastercard dubs theirs “PayPass,” Discover issues them under the “Zip” name and American Express calls theirs “ExpressPay.” We're talking about basically any credit, ID or security card with a chip here (and more).
Original card image by Liew Cheon Fong, CC BY-SA
Even if you never use the features of the cards chip, do you know how easy it is for someone to? This lets them steal the details of your card and start using it to do anything you could (such as running up huge charges on a credit card, or identifying themselves as you from an ID card like a drivers license). Do you know how easy it is for them to start using your identity without your even realizing?
All it takes is for someone with a $50 device that they can buy on eBay right now, put it in a bag and walk by you on the street. That's it. Next thing you know you're getting credit card bills for thousands of dollars or worse, and even if you get it sorted out with the credit card company, it takes time, effort and hassle. We all end up paying for higher fees from credit card fraud eventually, too. When they steal your identity they can do much, much worse.
1. The Setup
The thief connects a cheap, readily available battery-powered card reader to a netbook. They put it in a briefcase, so you never even see it. Some phones have this technology buil right in. Read more here at Consumer Reports.
2. The Swipe:
Fraudster carries briefcase close to your purse or pocket where identity and credit cards might be carried. The card reader reads your card details from a distance.
3. The Copy:
Safe elsewhere, the scammer writes your information onto a new, blank card. Now they have a fully working copy of your credit card or ID. How long it takes for you to find out depends on which illegal things they feel like using it for.
Illustrations by Brown Bird Design
In short, if you ever carry your license, passport or credit card without protection – and go anywhere where people can walk close by, your details can be stolen.
When we realized just how simple and affordable credit card fraud and identity theft have become with the new smart cards, we were shocked. We were horrified. We thought someone would come up with a way to help protect us and the people we all care about.
Here we are though, years after the introduction of smart cards – and we as well as our friends and family, are still just as much at risk as ever. More so actually, as the machines needed to commit this fraud have become much cheaper and easier to get.
So we set out to find a way to stop these evildoers in their tracks. It had to be cheap enough that it could protect the people with little money; the people who need it the most. It had to be easy to use and it had to be effective.
After months of testing and experimenting with materials and manufacturing processes, we came up with a prototype that could be cheap, simple to use, convenient and effective. Take a look.
Just keeping a GarbleCard in your wallet protects you by using shielding developed for the Department of Defence to protect their information and equipment. It prevents your cards from being read by passing card readers. This includes credit and debit cards as well as driver’s licenses, passports and any other card or document using a smart chip.
Take a look at how the current prototype works. What you're seeing here is essentially a complete, fully functional GarbleCard. The only differences to the finished product will be some final tweaks of the cover design (adding backers names etc) which are only cosmetic:
In tests with our existing prototypes, simply placing GarbleCard near your cards protects you from having your personal information being stolen consistently. Easy. You get increased security, convenience, it’s affordable, and it really works. And GarbleCard doesn't add any bulk to your wallet. It's also a constant reminder to keep your credit and debit cards secure when you’re out and about.
While reading the magnetic stripe in your purse or wallet is much harder for scammers than reading the chip, if they do try, Garblecard stops them there, too. Its shielding and larger magnetic stripe make Garblecard's fake information easier to pick up, so that's what gets read by their machine. Hasta la vista scammers!
There are many opinions and methods being used out there to try and thwart these forms of cybercrime. However, GarbleCard is the only solution that:
- Let's you use any wallet - even your current one.
- Doesn't damage credit/debit/identity cards
- Easily fits in your wallet, pocket or purse
- Shields against most known hacking devices
- Promotes awareness and security
- Gives proof of protection to banks if cards are hacked
- Is affordable... and
- Can be made available for non-profit fund-raising projects.
If you don't carry a wallet, you can still get full protection anywhere just by placing GarbleCard between your credit card and the potential fraudster.
In fact, anywhere you are concerned you might be in an unsecured situation, like a bus terminal or airport, just make sure you hold both your cards together with GarbleCard in your hand. In our tests, we saw how GarbleCard is also effective used in this way, shielding the card completely from scammers.
You get two GarbleCards in all of the reward tiers here for a number of reasons. One is to help protect you if you use a double-sided wallet. You can also have one in your wallet and one in your hand, or just an extra card in case you lose one. And of course, it doesn't help your credit situation if your card is safe but your partner’s isn't, so we figure it's always a good idea to have a spare.
$10 pledge: This is the double card package. Every pledge gets a two-pack set because of the extra protection that another card affords, as described above. The GarbleCard two-pack is delivered in a smart graphic package with simple directions and access to FAQs on our completed website.
$20 pledge: A two-pack set of GarbleCards, plus we'll also include your name (only) on our website as a backer of our project. Everyone will receive an email from Kevin and Andy thanking them for their support and access to the GarbleCard blog and Facebook page so you can stay up to date with news and advice in GarbleCard's mission to eradicate this epidemic of RFID based cyber crime.
$50 pledge: Be remembered permanently for having helped stop the most common form of cyber crime today. Pledge $50 and we'll use your first name and last initial or first initial and last name to create the background graphic noise on one of the two sides of GarbleCard. It took us a dozen or so tries to come up with this unique card design. We're sure you'll get a kick out of seeing your name on GarbleCard's design, everywhere.
$100 pledge: This reward tier is even more exclusive and limited to the first 50 pledges, as there just isn't enough space on the card for more names. We'll use your first name and last initial or first initial and last name to create the word GARBLE on one of the two sides of GarbleCard. We need to leave enough space for our names, K Bartczak and A Biro too...after all, we want to be immortalized on GarbleCard with you!
In researching the potential demand for GarbleCard, we have read a great many articles, studies and interviews addressing Smart cards and the related RFID technology and applications. The links below are valuable explanations used, in part, to prepare this project for Indiegogo. If you are interested in learning more, articles like these are a good place to start:
Newer cards can be hacked too.
How Smartcard Technology Works.
Should I use my new RFID enabled Smartcard?
Mythbusters banned from speaking about FRID chip by Visa and Mastercard
Who's been scanning your credit card?
This Indiegogo project is needed to raise the funds to mass manufacture the first ever production run of GarbleCard. It will be produced by the same companies that actually manufacturer credit cards already, however none of these are set up to produce cards with this kind of shielding technology. Accordingly, there are high costs, complex machine retooling and large minimum orders to get GarbleCard off the ground. It might be a cliché, but it’s true to say that without support of people like you on Indiegogo, this can't happen, and people everywhere would continue to be at risk of largely preventable fraud.
While we have working prototypes, to produce these in mass, we need your support. Our mission is to protect people from credit and identity theft. While the cards are cheap to produce, once the factory's equipment is set up, ultimately we can only get started with your help.
Not only do we need the funds to produce the first production run of GarbleCard, but we need funds to inform people about how high the hacking risks are right now, and what can be done about it. We want to make this affordable enough that everyone can be protected. This may not be possible if we're forced to use some other funding options that have to maximize returns over protecting the largest number of people.
Even if you can't afford to pledge yourself, we need people just like you, sharing on social media. We need people to show the people they care about how to protect themselves. We're determined to stop the current wave of credit card and identity theft dead in it's tracks. Every pledge or social share you make helps to make it real.
Kevin and Andy