Consumer Watchdog: Scam artists bank on confusion over new credit card feature


Consumer Watchdog - Joe Dolinsky



HERE FOR YOU

Have you been wronged by a business? Have you been the victim of a scam? Joe Dolinsky, our Consumer Watchdog, is here to help. To reach Joe, email ConsumerWatchdog@timesleader.com.

Debuting soon in a congested checkout line near you: Debit and credit card chips.

No, I’m not talking Lay’s products here. This new feature in our favorite plastic pals comes in the form of a small, square, metallic microchip that holds payment data and provides a unique code for each and every purchase. Big time card companies like Capital One and Bank of America are already phasing them into their arsenal.

Besides further confounding a cashier’s no doubt noble efforts to quickly and painlessly move along a checkout line that, this time next month, will probably stretch from the front of the store to the back, this new trait meant to combat fraud and identity theft is indirectly causing it.

Here’s how:

Like all successful schemes, this one prays on people who might not see it coming and aren’t up to date on the latest swings in innovation.

You’ll receive an email saying not to fret, your new credit or debit chip card is on its way. But first, your account needs to be updated. Between Facebook and Twitter, the last thing most people want is more updates. But things appear all right: Your card company’s email address appears as does its logo.

The message instructs you to reply and confirm your personal information. In other cases, you might be directed to click on a link to continue the process.

Either choice could prove poor. Sharing your card information and other personal data allows scammers to commit identity theft. Clicking on the link could download malware that allows scammers to phish your personal information.

As these type of cards continue to roll out in the coming months and as many of us dive into online shopping, getting emails regarding purchases or statements on your credit or debit cards won’t be all that uncommon.

To avoid a costly scam, be wary of emails from unfamiliar sources. Don’t click on attachments or links that appear suspicious. A call to your bank or credit card company questioning the validity of the email won’t take long and will likely spare you from the headache of identity theft.

Also keep in mind how your credit or debit card company contacts you. If you’re used to receiving statements and other correspondence in the mail, getting a similar notice in an email should raise a red flag. Scammers are capable of making them seem surprisingly real. Don’t fall for it.

If you catch something that appears to be a scam, contact the source directly. Scams and other can be reported to the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.

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Consumer Watchdog

Joe Dolinsky

HERE FOR YOU

Have you been wronged by a business? Have you been the victim of a scam? Joe Dolinsky, our Consumer Watchdog, is here to help. To reach Joe, email ConsumerWatchdog@timesleader.com.

Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL.

Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL.

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