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Scams Circumvent Chip Cards

Jeremiah Tucker / February 4th, 2016

While chip cards reduce credit card fraud, new scams are proving they won’t completely stop it. You still need to keep your guard up to avoid being the victim of identity theft.

The new EMV cards contain a microchip that generates a new number every time the card is used at a pay terminal, making skimming—stealing the card’s information using an illegitimate card reader—almost impossible.

If you haven't received your chip card from your financial institution yet, according to USA Today, you're vulnerable to opportunistic thieves.

The scam artists send bogus emails posing as the credit card company, claiming they need updated account information or asking the recipient to click on a link to continue the process, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Performing either of those actions will expose you to risk, giving the scammers access to information they can use to hijack your identity or install malware on your computer that could provide them with your passwords and financial information.

The FTC said in a blog post about this scam: “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.”

To identify a fake email, look for these tell-tale signs:

  • A fishy email address. If it looks overly long or otherwise clearly not associated with your credit card issuer, then delete.
  • A generic salutation. Does the email begin with “Dear Customer” and appear to know very little about you? Most legitimate emails include the last four digits of your credit card number.
  • A suspicious link to your account. Never click on a link in an email—it’s safer to just go to your account login manually using a bookmark or typing the URL.

If you have any questions about your card, call the 800-number on the back. And while the new EMV cards are safer—they’re not perfect. Even if you’ve already received your EMV cards, it’s still important to check your account often, and report any unusual activity to your card issuer.

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