Beware of the New Credit Card E-Mail Scam

October 6, 2015, Written By Lynn Oldshue
a security lock on credit cards / credit card data encryption

Criminals are finding a way to scam consumers with the recent conversion to the more secure chip-embedded credit cards.

Since only about 40% of Americans have received their new EMV cards, many are wondering when their current card will be replaced. Scammers are taking advantage of this, sending an e-mail that seems to come from the user’s credit card company. In order to get their new chip card, the letter informs them that they need to either click a link to update their account or respond to the e-mail and provide personal information.

If a consumer responds to the e-mail, the scammer will obviously have instant access to that user’s personal information. If the recipient clicks on the link, they will download keystroke-logging malware that will allow a scammer to steal personal information from the computer, including passwords, financial information and a person’s Social Security number.

Steve Weisman, a lawyer and professor at Bentley University, offered some tips for determining whether an e-mail is legitimate. Just because an e-mail has the credit card company’s logo does not mean the e-mail really came from the company. It is fairly easy to counterfeit a logo. If the sender’s e-mail address does not seem related to the company, it is obviously a fake.

Another thing to examine is the content of the e-mail. Instead of addressing a user by name, the scam e-mail will generally start with “Dear Cardholder.” When a credit card company actually sends an e-mail to its cardholders, the letter will address them by name, and the last four digits of the credit card number will be referenced somewhere in the e-mail.

Finally, it is unlikely that a credit card company needs to confirm personal information before issuing a new EMV credit card. If you do want more information about an e-mail you have received, call the toll-free number on the back of your card.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of October 6, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.