New phishing scam uses chip cards as bait

(Photo: WBAY)

(WBAY) — Banks and other credit card issuers are adding computer chips to make your transactions — and your money — more secure. But a new scam is taking advantage of the transition, the Better Business Bureau warns.

People are receiving official-looking emails saying a new credit or debit card with a chip is on its way to you. The BBB says these emails look official, using the logos and even the reply address of banks and credit card companies.

But from there, the scam should sound familiar:

You’re asked to follow a link in the email to confirm your banking or personal information — information the bank already has and wouldn’t ask for.

Or, you’re instructed to follow a link to continue the process, giving criminals a chance to download software to your computer, which can be used to steal your information, lock up your data for ransom, or use your computer as a server for spreading more spam and malware.

The BBB offers these tips to detect a scam:

  • 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. Banks and credit card issuers have secure communications channels that require you to log into your account before you can read the message.
  • 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. The customer service phone number will be on the back of the card. If you want to look on the company’s website, look for the URL on your statement or do a web search. DON’T click on any links in the message you suspect is a scam.
  • Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of messages that don’t contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.

Click here for more info from the BBB.

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