Consumer Alert: Credit and debit card fraud protection

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Credit card and debit card companies have been switching to new chip cards, because they promise better security. But consumer experts say that credit card fraud is actually on the rise.

The new cards with the chips are harder to counterfeit, but experts say that they are far from foolproof.

“It's not going to help you when you shop online,” says consumer advocate Adam Levin. “All that's happened is the bad guys have also shifted their efforts to online transactions as well.”

Levin’s advice is to use credit cards and not debit cards when shopping online because protections are usually better if a credit card is compromised.

It is also suggested for shoppers to sign up for transaction alerts if the bank offers them. This will allow a customer to know immediately if a fraudulent purchase is made.

Consumers are also advised to use programs like Apple Pay or Android Pay if they have a smartphone, because those purchases are approved with a fingerprint.

“Biometrics does bring us one step closer to more effective authentication, which is how we have to go,” Levin says.

Consumer advocates say that the chips have also led to an increase in account takeovers, which is when a hacker takes over the account and changes the password. Consumers are warned to keep their passwords long and strong and to use two-factor authentication when possible.

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