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A F*c*b**k privacy encounter

I picked up a prescription yesterday morning and paid with a card I’ve had for a long time. Except the bank just sent me the new version of it and it’s “contactless.”

I’ve never had and don’t want a contactless card. Even if I did, half the terminals in my town, includin the one at the drug store, still can’t handle the previous tech update (those sloowwwww chips), let alone tap-and-go. But the bank has a different view of my needs. The card still works the old-fashioned way, too, of course.

So there I was at the counter, unwrapping it from its personal tinfoil hat and feeling a little embarrassed to be revealed as a paranoid weirdo.

But the clerk was apparently up on the issue.

“You know you can get one of those special wallets?” she told me.

“I do. And if I had other contactless cards, I would. Meanwhile I’ll stick with my tinfoil hat even if people laugh.”

Bless her heart. “Nobody should laugh,” she assured me earnestly. “I saw this F*c*b**k video where a guy had his wallet in his back pocket and it had contactless cards in it. And they just barely tapped his butt with this reader and it registered a transaction. I was shocked. It really worried me.”

So don’t let anybody tell you that F*c*b**k isn’t good for privacy. At least .000000001% of the time, it’s useful for something.


  1. Joel
    Joel October 2, 2018 8:46 am

    Insert obligatory line about the irony of learning about a none-facebook-related privacy concern from a facebook video…

  2. Fred M.
    Fred M. October 2, 2018 8:54 am

    Send me a mailing address and I’ll send you a wallet that protects against theft.

  3. Mike
    Mike October 2, 2018 8:54 am

    Hey Claire, up here in the Great White North it’s the exception for a retailer to not have the tap feature on their card reader. When I got my first card with this feature I contacted the bank out of concern for electronic theft. I was told that the tap feature comes with a built in limit of $100 and that I could have it disabled or limited to an amount I was comfortable with. It’s probably the same with the bank you deal with. I ended up keeping it with the $100 limit and have a good RFID blocking wallet. I’ve found that while shopping it saves time and reduces the risk of a teller skimming or making a copy of the card. Welcome to the twenty-first century…

  4. larryarnold
    larryarnold October 2, 2018 9:38 am

    I was told that the tap feature comes with a built in limit of $100 and that I could have it disabled or limited to an amount I was comfortable with.

    Color me “disabled,” and hope that it really is. Life is too short to hurry that much.

  5. Mike
    Mike October 2, 2018 11:48 am

    larryarnold — As a retired guy I understand your point and I don’t do the tap and go very much. It’s just that on those days when you’re in line to check out and you are running a little late, tap and go is very nice. The tap and go is just like any other technology there are good things and bad things about it. Personally I like the fact the transactions are more secure than handing over my card to a cashier who does a little sleight of hand and copies the card. But that’s just me…

    I don’t know about you, but all this whizzbang stuff is the science fiction of my youth.

  6. brew
    brew October 2, 2018 3:29 pm

    Generally younger folkzen do little to impress me but one time at the supermarket I was scoring a boatload of free food grade buckets (with lids!) from the bakery. A worker saw me wheeling them around as I was shopping and was *really* curious about what I was going to use them for… I told him they make great containers for gardening, keeping rodents out of stuff etc. Anything else? Anything else? Anything else? He kept pressing…

    Finally I just stopped, turned and faced him head on and said “I’m a prepper. These are mostly for storing beans, rice and ammo”.

    He said “Ammo – I hadn’t thought of that one! I need to get started on all this stuff.”

    I picked up an extra bag of beans and bag of rice, rang them up separately from my other groceries, went and found the guy and gave the goods with the receipt to him.

    Here you go – there’s your start.

    I guess ya never know…

  7. JB
    JB October 2, 2018 9:48 pm

    A simple hole punch and a bright light are all that’s needed. The card will still be valid. Drivers’ licenses and passports, however, will not be. For those you need RFID shielding.

  8. Jim Brook
    Jim Brook October 3, 2018 7:34 am

    I guess I am really behind the times. I have not heard of “contactless cards” before, even though I take debit/credit cards in my office, and I am usually the one that runs the card. I have heard radio commercials saying that every time you buy something, you are taking a chance on identity theft. Nonsense. I pay with cash. That is the way to remove the risk, and it is the only way.

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