New scams circumvent chip cards

October 27, 2015

McLEAN, Va. (10/27/15)--While chip cards reduce credit card fraud, new scams are proving they won’t completely stop it. Consumers still need to keep their guard up to avoid being the victims 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.

Oct. 1 was the deadline for credit card issuers to issue new cards and for retailers to update their processing machines. In the event of credit card fraud after that date, whichever entity has not complied with the new law is responsible for the loss.

But only about 40% of Americans have received new cards from their credit card companies, according to, leaving an open window for opportunistic thieves (USA Today Oct. 3). 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 (CNN Money Oct. 19).

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; and
  • 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.

For related information, read “Government Data Breach: What Should You Do?” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Other resources:

Home & Family Finance Resource Center

Identity Theft: Who Has Your Number Electronic Member Seminar Kit

ID Theft: How to Prevent It and How to Get Over It statement stuffer