Our friends at the Better Business Bureau have recently spotted a scam involving the new chip based credit/debit cards. It caught our eye because we've just updated our credit card equipment at The Computing Center to accept chip cards as well as ApplePay and other mobile payment systems. It's actually a very simple scam, but with all the information in the media, from our banks and credit card companies, it's an easy one to fall for.
Many banks are issuing new debit and credit cards with an embedded chip for additional security. The new chips are meant to reduce fraud, but the hype around the new cards is having an unintended side effect... fodder for scams.
How the Scam Works:
You receive an email saying that your new credit or debit card with the chip is on the way. But first you need to update your account. The message seems to be from your bank or credit card issuer. It may have the company's logo and even the reply email address.
All you need to do, claims the message, is reply and confirm your personal and banking information. Or, in another version, the message instructs you to click on a link to continue the process.
Don't do it! If you share personal information, the scammer can use it to commit identity theft. If you click on the link, you may download malware to your device. Scammers use malware to steal your personal information, send spam and commit fraud.
Tips to Spot a Phishing Scam:
- Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. Do not click on links or open files in unfamiliar emails.
- Consider how the company normally contacts you. If a company usually contacts you by phone, be suspicious if you suddenly start receiving emails or text messages without ever opting in to the new communications. Banks and credit card issuers have secure communications channels that require you to log into your account before you can read the message.
- Don't believe what you see. Just because an email looks real, doesn't mean it is. Scammers can fake anything from a company logo to the "Sent" email address.
- Check the company's website or call them. If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by checking with the bank or credit card issuer. The customer service phone number will be on the back of the card. If you want to look on the company's website, look for the URL on your statement or do a web search. DON'T click on any links in the message you suspect is a scam.
- Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of messages that don't contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.
For More Information
Learn more about this scam and the new credit and debit cards, check out this article on the Federal Trade Commission's website.