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Switch to Chip Technology Leaves Credit Cards Vulnerable to Thieves

Switch to Chip Technology Leaves Credit Cards Vulnerable to Thieves. Experts argue that confusion over the transition to new “chip” credit and debit cards, as well as delays in getting such cards into users’ hands, is creating an ideal opportunity for identity thieves.

When CreditCards.com conducted a market survey at the end of September, it discovered that 60% of credit cardholders in the United States were yet to get a new EMV chip-enabled credit card. The “deadline” for merchants to be ready to take the new cards was Oct. 1 – or risk being held liable for fraud committed with an older card – but some card issuers have been slow in getting them to customers.

With all of the media attention around the move to these more secure cards, millions of Americans are keeping an eye on their mailboxes, waiting for their new cards to come.

“This presents identity thieves with a wonderful opportunity to assault and steal people’s personal information,” said Adam Levin, chairman of IdentityTheft 911 and author of the new book “Swiped.” “Scammers thrive in situations when individuals are confused and anxious because that’s when they’re most vulnerable.”

Colleen Tressler, a consumer education specialist at the Federal Trade Commission, warned about the problem in a recent blog post.

“Scammers are acting as their card issuer and emailing people,” she wrote. “The con artists state that in order for a new chip card to be issued, you must update your account by confirming personal information or clicking on a link to continue the procedure.”

The deadline for ‘Chip’ credit cards is approaching, yet few people are prepared.

We should never trust an email that invites us to click on a link and submit sensitive information, according to Steve Weisman, a Massachusetts lawyer who operates the website Scamicide.com.

“If you do that, you’re toast,” Weisman said. “Your personal information will be collected and utilized to commit fraud as soon as possible.”

Another security risk: clicking on a link in one of these phony emails could result in malware being installed on your computer. This malware can track your internet activities and steal your passwords, logins, and account numbers.

Scammers are also expected to utilize the phone for “vishing” (voice phishing) and “smishing” (phishing through text message) assaults, according to fraud specialists.

Caution: Just because a communication has all or part of your credit card number – or even the exact expiration date – doesn’t mean it’s real. On the black market, crooks can purchase this information.

Why Is Your Credit Card Changing to a Chip and PIN System?

IDT911’s Levin said, “They use this valid credit card information to make their call, text, or email seem extremely authentic.” “They want you to authenticate yourself by providing them your account PIN or the security code on the back of your card so they can use it for online shopping,” says the author.

Simple measures to take to safeguard yourself

Don’t respond to an email, text message, or phone call from your bank or credit card company asking you to confirm or supply personal information.

“There’s no reason your card issuer needs to contact you by email – or by phone, for that matter – to validate personal information before sending you a new chip card,” Tressler said in her FTC blog.

Do you have any doubts about the legitimacy of the communication? Then call the number on the back of your card to contact your bank or credit card provider.

“If you have already fallen for the scam and submitted this personal information, you should contact your credit card provider immediately away,” said John Breyault, the director of the National Consumers League’s Fraud.org website. “Tell them what happened and take the appropriate precautions to prevent identity theft.”

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