Scam du jour: Chip card scams

October 19, 2015
by Colleen Tressler
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Recently, I told you about the new credit and debt chip cards designed to reduce fraud, including counterfeiting.  Now, I'm reporting on scammers who are trying to take advantage of the millions of consumers who haven't yet received a chip card.

Here's what’s happening: Scammers are emailing people, posing as their card issuer. The scammers claim that in order to issue a new chip card, you need to update your account by confirming some personal information or clicking on a link to continue the process.

If you reply to the email with personal information, the scammer can use it to commit identity theft. If you click on the link, you may unknowingly install malware on your device. Malware programs can cause your device to crash, monitor your online activity, send spam, steal personal information and commit fraud.

So how can you tell if the email is from a scammer?

  • 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. Don't respond to an email or phone call that asks you to provide your card number. Period.
  • Still not sure if the email is a scam? Contact your card issuers at the phone numbers on your cards.
  • Don't trust links in emails. Only provide personal information through a company's website if you typed in the web address yourself and you see signals that the site is secure, like a URL that begins https (the "s" stands for secure).