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.
These scammers will email you links. If you click on them, it may infect your computer with malware or take you to a bogus site where they collect your personal information. If they call you, they'll say they're your card issuer and they need your information before they can send you an EMV card.
The FTC is warning every card user to take three steps to protect yourself from these scammers.
1. Your card issuer will not call you or send you email asking you to confirm your personal information. Delete those emails, and hang up on those calls.
2. Contact your card issuer if you've received emails or phone calls from scammers claiming to be the card issuer.
3. Don't open email links. The only time you should input your personal information is when you typed in a company's website address yourself.