Consumer alert issued as chip-and-pin credit/debit card rollout begins
BATON ROUGE - The Attorney General’s Office issued an alert Thursday as consumers are beginning the process of waving goodbye to swipe-and-sign credit cards and moving on to new chip-based credit and debit cards. According to Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell, the switch is well underway nationwide and will be coming to Louisiana in short order.
“This rollout is part of a major effort to cut down on fraud and credit card data breaches,” Attorney General Caldwell said. “The new cards offer greater protections for consumers and will help reduce the costs associated with fraud.”
Caldwell’s office points out five things about the new credit and debit cards:
- The new cards have a small, square metallic chip on the front. This holds the payment data and provides a unique code for each new purchase.
- The metallic chip is designed to reduce fraud, especially counterfeiting as reproducing the chip design presents a much more difficult task for criminals.
- Instead of swiping the cards, consumers will now “dip” the card into a reader for a few seconds until the chip is read.
- Some businesses may require consumers to also sign or enter a PIN. Regardless, the chip still generates a unique code for each transaction.
- This constantly changing security code associated with the chip makes it much more difficult for a criminal to intercept your card’s data and use it to make fraudulent purchases.
Attorney General Caldwell cautions, however, that the chip does not prevent lost or stolen cards from being used in stores or on the web. It’s still a good idea for consumers to guard their card information as closely as possible, and check statements regularly to monitor for unauthorized activity. The AG’s Office says there are also still plenty of scammers out there trying to take advantage of those consumers who haven’t received chip-based cards yet.
“Scammers are emailing people, posing as their card issuer. The scammers claim that in order to issue a new chip card, you need to update your account by confirming some personal information or clicking on a link to continue the process,” Attorney General Caldwell said.
Attorney General Caldwell stresses that there is no reason your card issuer needs to contact you by email, or by phone, to confirm personal information before sending you a new chip card. Do not respond to an email or phone call that asks you to provide your card number.
Banks and card issuers have been sending out new credit and debit chip cards, and the rollout will continue through 2016.
For more consumer tips and information, contact Attorney General Caldwell’s Consumer Protection Section at (800) 351-4889.