Madigan: Beware of Credit Card Scams During Transition to Chip Cards
Attorney General Lisa Madigan is urging Illinois residents to be on the lookout for calls or emails from individuals posing as debit or credit card issuers in an attempt to con consumers into providing personal information, which can lead to scammers making purchases on consumer’s cards or a larger identity theft scam.
Banks and major credit card issuers nationwide have been sending out new credit and debit chip cards that feature a small computer chip on the front that will help limit fraud and theft. The chip contains cardholder data and creates a unique code for each purchase. The new cards also still contain the magnetic strip, so that consumers can still use their credit cards to make purchases by swiping the card when the seller does not have chip readers in place. Madigan’s office says the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reporting instances of scammers taking advantage of the transition from the old cards to the chip cards to steal consumers’ personal information.
Scammers target consumers who have not yet received the new chip cards by contacting them via telephone or email claiming to represent banks and credit card lenders. The scammers tell consumers they must first confirm or update their accounts by providing personal information before they can receive a new chip card. Scammers are then able to steal consumers’ identities, monitor their online activity, and install malware on electronic devices.
“A bank or credit card lender will never contact you to request your personal information before sending you a new card,” Madigan said. “If you have questions about your account or your card, you should contact your bank directly.”
Madigan said Illinois residents can try to avoid being targets of this scam by contacting their financial institutions if they have not received new chip cards. Madigan also urged consumers who receive calls or emails from supposed banks or credit card lenders to hang up or delete the email, and report the contact to her Consumer Fraud Bureau.