Millions of Americans who use credit and debit cards on a regular basis will soon experience a major change. Financial institutions and retailers are in the midst of making a transition to cards with EMV chips — technology that has been available in Europe for years. Consumers will soon see their older cards replaced with new chip-and-PIN and chip-and-signature cards, which are designed to be far more secure than the technology that is currently available.
It’s true that these new cards should reduce the rate of certain types of identity theft and fraud. However, as we have written on this blog previously, it is possible that the introduction of this technology will also force identity thieves to shift tactics. In the U.K., for example, thieves have focused on “card-not-present” fraud, which includes crimes that occur over the phone, the Internet or through the mail. Determining the best way to address this challenge is on the top of the list for security experts.
But consumers may have more pressing worries as they await the arrival of their new cards.
FTC warns of new card issuer scam
The EMV rollout has taken some time, and millions of cardholders still haven’t received their new cards in the mail yet. A recent blog post on the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information page warns these individuals that some scammers are looking to take advantage of them in this situation.
The post explains that scammers are emailing people who have not yet received their cards, pretending to be the card issuer. They claim that the recipients have to update their account before they can receive their card, and will ask for some personal information to do so. These scam emails may also include a link to continue the process.
It is vital that recipients of these emails ignore them. Any personal information sent to scammers could be used by them to commit identity theft, whether it’s your address, date of birth or something more sensitive like a Social Security Number. In addition, clicking on any of the links in the email could expose a recipient’s computer to malware that may not only damage the system, but also track online activity, send spam or steal personal information.
Be wary of card issuers bearing emails
It’s important to remember that your card issuer has no need to contact you before sending you a new credit or debit card. If there really is an issue that needs resolving, you will likely be contacted over the phone. In fact, if you are ever unsure about a message you receive from your card holder, it is always best to call them directly to ensure that it is legitimate. You never want to be in a situation where you absentmindedly click on a few suspicious links, only to have your personal information compromised some time down the road.
Scammers have numerous ways to compromise your privacy, and it’s important to be proactive. For additional protection, be sure to invest in a credit monitoring service, which can notify you of certain activities that may indicate fraud. This can give you much-needed peace of mind, allowing you to rest assured that you’re taking important measures to safeguard your identity.