Scammers have found a new way to target Arkansans while retailers and banks continue to make the switch from magnetic stripe credit and debit cards to the chip cards.
The confusion surrounding this transition has made a prime environment for con artists. It has been reported that scammers will pose as credit card companies and contact consumers through email, informing them that a new card is ready but they need to update account information before the card can be sent.
If a consumer opens the link and enters his or her personal financial information, it will likely be taken and used to commit fraud. In some cases, the link itself could install malware on the device and then monitor online activities and steal passwords, log-in information or account numbers.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to warn Arkansans of this scam.
“The new chip cards provide a better layer of protection for consumers as credit and debit transactions are processed,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But scam artists are now preying on consumers still waiting to receive their new cards in the mail. It is important that Arkansans be aware of this scam and remain skeptical when asked to provide any potentially sensitive information.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to minimize the risk of falling victim to this scam:
- Do not respond to any emails or phone calls requesting a credit card number or to update personal information. This information does not need to be provided before a new card is issued.
- Hang up and contact the credit card company directly to confirm if the call is legitimate if you are asked to update personal information.
- Do not open an email link without verifying the link’s authenticity. If you mistakenly open the link, do not supply any information. Only provide information through a company website if you have typed in the web address yourself.
- Look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar and “https” in the URL address to be sure information is secure during transmission.
The chip that is embedded in these debit and credit cards provides a helpful way to prevent credit card fraud. The technology creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again; therefore, any stolen transaction numbers would be void and criminals would be denied if they attempted to forge an Arkansan’s credit card. Electronic Transactions Association reports that an estimated 90 percent of counterfeit card fraud could be eliminated by using the chip cards.
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, file a fraud alert with one of the three national credit bureaus, close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently, consider placing a security freeze on your credit report, file an identity theft report with local law enforcement and a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and consider requesting an Identity Theft Passport provided by the Attorney General’s office.
For more information about credit cards or other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.