When I tried to use the smart chip in my credit card at my drugstore’s self-service kiosk, the machine gave me a malfunction error and wouldn’t process the payment. Like their magnetic-stripe predecessors, the smart chips on the front of the card can be damaged by scrapes from keys, coins and other items with sharp edges.
What causes that error and how fragile are these new cards? When inserted into a special card reader, that small metallic microchip on the front of newer credit and debit cards processes transaction data in a more secure way than do older cards that simply encode the account information in a magnetic stripe on the back. Exposure to liquids and other substances can also harm the chip.
"Because you always have your cellphone with you, answering it becomes more of an impulse reaction," says Cloudmark security researcher Mary Landesman.Here's how to protect yourself: • Ignore instructions to text "STOP" or "NO" to prevent future texts.Or the messages may urge you to dial a phone number where your personal and financial information is solicited.Whatever you provide is either used to steal your identity or sold to third parties who'll send you yet more spam texts. " Every day, about 45 million spam text messages are sent to North American cellphones.
That's because at least 70 percent of all cellphone text spam is designed to defraud you in some way, according to a study by Cloudmark, a company that makes anti-spam software.Keep the new card — along with all your others — protected in a wallet or cardholder to avoid possible damage from other pocket or purse items. If you don't have a text message plan, you'll pay around 20 cents for each one you receive.When word spreads of the spam du jour, the scammers simply toss the phones they're using and buy new ones.What's more, cellphone users are three times more likely than computer users to respond to spam.This is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a live, active contact for more cellphone spam, says Landesman. • Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads).