RICHMOND, Va - The new chip credit and debit cards issued by banks and credit companies across the country have given crooks a new way of pulling off a classic phishing scam, according to consumer experts. The Better Business Bureau has warned consumers the chip has become "fodder for scammers."
The BBB said the scam starts when a customer receives an email from their bank or credit card issuer that a new chip card is on the way; however, before it can be activated, the message claims the customer must first confirm their personal and banking information. The email would then ask customers to either reply to the message or click on a link embedded in the email.
"Don’t do it! If you share personal information, the scammer can use it to commit identity theft. If you click on the link, you may download malware to your device. Scammers use malware to steal your personal information, send spam and commit fraud," the BBB said on their consumer blog.
The consumer protection group also listed five ways to avoid phishing scams:
- Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments - Do not click on links or open files in unfamiliar emails
- Consider how the company normally contacts you - If a company usually contacts you by phone, be suspicious if you suddenly start receiving emails or text messages without ever opting in to the new communications.
- Don’t believe what you see - Just because an email looks real, doesn’t mean it is. Scammers can fake anything from a company logo to the “Sent” email address.
- Check the company’s website or call them - If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by checking with the bank or credit card issuer.
- Be cautious of generic emails - Always be wary of messages that don’t contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.