When credit card companies unveiled the new credit cards with microchips in them, they were hailed as a new defense against identity theft and fraudulent charges. However, this new protection has led some consumers to become more lax in how they protect their credit card information.
With credit card fraud now topping $16 billion every year in the country, card users need to be aware that chips may slow down credit card number theft, but they have not stopped it completely. This is owed to a number of factors. First, most cards still have a magnetic strip on them that contains information. A credit card scammer can use a small device to steal data from that strip. Once stolen, the information can be used to make purchases online and over the phone. Second, many retailers have not yet made the transition to using chip readers, providing scammers with ample opportunity to steal information.
Cybercrime expert Robert Siciliano reminds consumers that as long as credit cards contain the magnetic strip, fraud will continue. In addition to using skimming devices at retailers and ATMs, there are new phone apps that can record credit card information by simply touching a consumer’s wallet for a brief period.
Consumers are urged to remember to keep their PIN numbers secret, use only encrypted WiFi when making online purchases, and to use a wallet or wallet card that blocks smart phone scanning devices.
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