Jeans Protect Your Credit Cards from Digital Pickpockets

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By Hal M. Bundrick

While not quite a stylish version of the Iron Man exoskeleton, new crowdfunded apparel does protect the wearer from digital identity theft -- if not providing a force beam, weapon capabilities and free flight. Ready jeans for men, as well as a blazer for women, are slim fit denim jeans with hack-blocking pockets. Yes, it's come to this.

Steven B. Wheeler, the San Francisco-based designer of the scan-proof apparel, spent "countless hours hunched over his mother's Kenmore sewing machine" as a child, according to the Betabrand crowdfunding site. "I'm not a know-it-all, I'm a learn-it-all," he says on his Twitter account.

After learning that more than 10 million identities are "digitally pickpocketed" each year by scam artists with wireless scanners, Wheeler sought to fashion a wearable solution. The stretch denim pants contain two radio-frequency identification and near-field communication blocking pockets, capable of protecting your credit, debit card or passport data from being lifted by a hostile scan. A promotional video says RFID scanners can steal data from over 30 feet away.

Crowdfunded Apparel

Betabrand says by next year, 70 percent of all credit cards will be vulnerable to such attacks. The jeans reportedly have Symantec's Norton brand protection built in. Besides offering high-tech protection, the jeans are suited for "adventure-prone professionals," Wheeler says.

Fundraising for the jeans has been quite the success. With two weeks left, it's raised 174 percent of its goal. Shipping is expected to begin in late February. The straight leg fit jeans list for $168, but with a 20 percent funding discount are selling for $134.40. The women's "Work-It" wrinkle-resistant blazer, with detachable hood and one scan-proof pocket, sells for $148.50. It is projected to ship in March.

While there are wallets, credit card protectors, mini backpacks and other carry-along RFID-blocking accessories, the Betabrand jeans are apparently the first weareable protection from wireless identity theft.
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