Many U.S. Banks are replacing traditional credit and debit cards with new payment cards that contain a microchip known as an EMV chip that offers enhanced security for credit or debit card users. Although the EMV chip is a lot more secure than the traditional magnetic strips, the FBI warns law enforcement, merchants and the public to remain wary of cybercriminals, as the EMV chip does not eliminate the possibility of fraud. An EMV chip, which is a small gold chip found on most credit cards, does not stop lost or stolen cards from being used. The data on the magnetic strip, according to the FBI, can be stolen if merchants have not upgraded to an EMV terminal. The terminal may become infected with data-capturing malware. The public is urged to use the EMV feature of their new card wherever stores accept it to limit the risk of their sensitive payment data being stolen for malicious use. To reduce their risk, consumers should closely guard the PINs and EMV cards in their possession and be vigilant with handling, signing and activating a card as soon as it arrives in the mail. The FBI also advises that credit and debit card users should review statements for irregularities and report stolen or lost cards as soon as possible to the issuing bank.
Shielding the keyboard from bystanders when entering a PIN number is wise to do as well. Merchants are advised to handle the EMV card, along with its data, with the same precautions they use for standard credit cards. Those handling sales over the phone or on the Internet are encouraged to use additional security measures to ensure the card's authenticity. By using secure servers and payment links for Internet transactions and encrypting the information provided by consumers, merchants can avert hackers from taking card information. Card information taken over the phone should be protected by the merchant. If the card information is written down, it should be securely disposed of after use. If you or someone you know has been a victim of credit card fraud, contact local law enforcement or FBI field office and file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.