The government warns that fraudsters are targeting people as they await their new, more secure credit cards. Here's how to protect yourself.
The new credit and debit chip cards are designed to be less vulnerable to fraud. But the millions of consumers who are still waiting for their new more-secure chip cards are being targeted by scammers.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraudsters impersonating card issuers are sending emails to consumers who haven’t received a chip-enabled card. The emails claim that consumers either need to update their account by confirming personal information or click on a link embedded in the email before they will get an upgraded chip card. The FTC says:
If you reply to the email with personal information, the scammer can use it to commit identity theft. If you click on the link, you may unknowingly install malware on your device. Malware programs can cause your device to crash, monitor your online activity, send spam, steal personal information and commit fraud.
The new cards are less vulnerable to hackers because they contain a microchip that creates a unique single-use code each time you use it. Older cards store payment information in the magnetic stripe on the back of the card, which thieves have an easier time stealing.
According to the FTC, consumers should heed these warnings:
- Be wary of emails. “There’s no reason your card issuer needs to contact you by email — or by phone, for that matter — to confirm personal information before sending you a new chip card,” the FTC says. Asking for your card number is another red flag.
- If you’re questioning the authenticity of an email, simply pick up the phone and call your card issuer.
- Resist the urge to click on links in emails. “Only provide personal information through a company’s website if you typed in the web address yourself and you see signals that the site is secure, like a URL that begins https (the “s” stands for secure),” the FTC says.
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