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Chip-and-PIN opens you up to fraud

Chip-and-PIN opens you up to fraud
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

You probably know by now that credit card issuers are sending out millions of new credit cards that are designed to be more secure than your current credit cards. They're called EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) or chip-and-PIN cards that you can spot by the shiny computer chip embedded in it.

We've told you these cards are a big step forward in protecting you from ID theft. With your current cards, the magnetic strip on the back stores your personal information. If a hacker steals that information, they can use it over and over.

With the EMV cards, the chip records each transaction and assigns it a number. No transaction code can be used twice, so even if hackers steal it, it won't do them any good. These cards, which you insert into a reader rather than swipe, is doubly secure if your card also requires a secret PIN to get in, hence chip-and-PIN.

That's great, but there's a problem that has the Federal Trade Commission issuing warnings to card users like you. There are a huge number of these cards in the mail. In America, 120 million cards have already been issued but another 480 million are so will be delivered over the next couple of months.

The problem is twofold. Protect your mailbox because crooks can steal the cards. But scammers are also up to their old tricks, either sending phishing emails or calling you.

Next page: FTC's chip-and-PIN warnings
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