After the Target data breach in 2013 that compromised the credit card and banking details of 40 million customers, the United States has taken precautions to limit credit card fraud. Since 2015, America has worked to greatly reduce the number of credit and debit cards that rely on magnetic strips to authorize payments. These magnetic strips, which have long since been abandoned by European countries, lack the necessary security measures to stop hackers from duplicating the sensitive information. The United States’ government has requested that companies across the country convert their credit card readers to machines that are capable of reading smart chips. Companies that fail to comply run the risk of being held responsible for any damages that result from stolen credit card identification.
Credit Card Fraud in America
Smart chip technology has been around since the 1990s. When other countries were protecting their credit cards with encrypted data, Americans were still swiping their magnetic strips. Over time, Americans became synonymous with identity theft targets. As the amount of credit card fraud reduced in many other countries, it jumped to epic heights in the US. Almost 50 percent of identity theft cases in the world happen to Americans. Credit card fraud is so prevalent that in New York City, there are cyber crime police units dedicated solely to fighting identity theft.
Even though banks and credit card companies are desperate to combat identity theft, their tactics are having little effect. Approximately 60% of American citizens do not have debit and credit cards with smart chips. While smart chips are expected to reduce cases of credit card theft up to 70 percent, the problem is making sure that every American changes his or her card to the new system.
Protecting your assets.
While the United States works to catch up to global security standards, there are ways that you can be proactive in protecting your identity. Firstly, you should contact your bank and credit card companies and request an updated card with a smart chip. Financial institutions want to protect their money and investments at all costs, and will be more than happy to help you make your assets more secure.
If you have a card with a chip built in, never swipe the magnetic strip again. You should avoid doing that unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. All across the country, stores and restaurants are updating their card readers to machines that are compatible with smart chip technology. These machines don’t require a swipe, but rather your card is inserted into the machine.
If you are eating at a restaurant, never let your credit card leave your sight. Even though it is customary in America to let the server take your card, ask if you can follow him or her. One of the reasons that credit card fraud is not as common in other parts of the world is because most countries use portable card readers which are brought to the customer. If your card is out of your sight, you are putting yourself at risk of having it skimmed or cloned.