March 7, 2016
***National Consumer Protection Week Consumer Alert***
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt encourages consumer awareness of new credit or debit chip cards. While the new cards provide enhanced security for both consumers and retailers, Nevadans are encouraged to be aware of scams associated with the transition to this new technology.
In October 2015, many U.S. banks began implementing secure chip and PIN technology to process credit transactions. Preying on the confusion caused by the transition, scammers target consumers waiting to receive their new chip cards. Many pose as card issuers, emailing or calling victims to request that they update their account information or click on a verification link to receive their new credit card. Scammers can then collect and steal personal information, monitor a consumer’s online activity or install malware on the consumer’s electronic device.
“My Office is committed to protecting consumers against identity theft and credit fraud,” said Laxalt. “I encourage Nevadans to take advantage of the increased security chip cards offer, and to be mindful of the risks and scams that still remain prior to receiving the card.”
Prior to chip cards, credit and debit cards used magnetic stripe technology for retail transactions. Each time a card with a magnetic stripe is swiped, the payment information used to authenticate the card remains the same, making any information intercepted during transmission easily replicable. Chip technology reduces the likelihood that the information can be replicated and reused by encrypting the data and assigning a unique number to each individual transaction.
To minimize the risk of falling victim to this scam and to maintain the security of personal information, consumers can follow these steps:
- Use a chip card whenever possible, and always shield the PIN number from view.
- Do not respond to an email or phone call prompting you to provide your card number or update your information. There is no reason for the card issuer to confirm your information before sending you a new chip card.
- If you receive a telephone call prompting you to update your information, hang up and contact your card issuer directly to confirm the authenticity of the caller.
- If you mistakenly click on an email link, do not supply any information on the website. Instead, only provide information through a company website if you have typed in the web address yourself.
- Most secure websites contain a URL that begins with “https”.
Victims of identity theft or credit fraud can take the following steps to prevent harm to their personal and financial information:
- Place a fraud alert on your account immediately. The alert will require any business to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. To place a fraud alert, contact Experian, TransUnion and Equifax to let them know you are a victim of identity theft and would like a fraud alert on your credit file. The alert is free and will stay on your credit report for 90 days.
- Order your credit report. If you placed an initial fraud alert, you may obtain a copy of your credit report for free. If you did not set a fraud alert, you can order one free copy per year from Annualcreditreport.com . Once you have a copy, dispute any errors you find with the credit reporting agency and fraud department of each business.
- Set up a credit freeze, if you are worried about damage to your credit. A credit freeze limits access to your credit and makes it more difficult for a hacker to open an account in your name. A credit freeze will last until you choose to remove it. Keep in mind that a credit freeze will require a fee of approximately $10. Whether you place a fraud alert or a credit freeze on your account, you should still monitor your credit for potential fraud.
Instructions and illustrations for using a new chip card can be found at http://gochipcard.com/ . For additional assistance on identity theft, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit the FTC online here.