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Security Breaches Spur Discussion: Should U.S. Adopt ‘Chipped’ Credit Cards?

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Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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(CBS) – Every night we hear stories about personal accounts and credit cards being hacked, customers victimized at department stores and warnings about bogus charges.

Americans are the number one target for credit-card hackers.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports on a potential solution.

Two fraud victims say they were hit with charges they did not incur themselves. One charge was from China; the other, from Europe.

“I just want to know: Why we don’t have better security systems?” one of the victims asks.

That’s the literally billion-dollar question, because a better system does exist: credit cards with computer chips.

All of your personal information is embedded inside, and it’s difficult for thieves to crack the code.

More than 80 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa have used chips for more than a decade. But the U.S. marketplace still uses the magnetic stripe, which can easily be copied.

This 1960s-era technology makes Americans easy targets from hackers around the world.

So is the chip the solution to our problems?

“No, there is no perfect answer,” says FBI special agent Eric Shiffman.

That said, countries that use the chip card have seen a 60 percent reduction in stolen credit card accounts when consumers use the chip readers. It won’t prevent all fraud

“The people who are doing this are far too creative and are far too motivated by greed,” Shiffman says.

Some U.S. retailers make it easy for hackers when they fail to implement strong security measures. In a study of 24 card-issuers by Javelin Strategy, among the worst are Target and Nordstrom.

Other retailers are also accused of being slow to tell consumers when they’ve been hacked. Evanston Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky calls that unacceptable.

“There is no excuse at all for any kind of delay for any reason. The loss of identity, the loss of funds can be a serious problem,” she says.

Among safety tips for credit-card users:

–Monitor accounts and credit statements.

–Use complex passwords for your accounts.

–Be sure to set alerts on your bank accounts so you’re notified of unusual activity.

–Monitor your credit report.

The FBI also says use credit cards instead of debit cards because they offer more protection.

Nordstrom says the Javelin report failed to look at important issues but also says they continue to review their credit-card systems.

Target did not respond to a request for comment.

Why don’t we have the chip technology? Retailers blame banks for not issuing the cards. Banks accuse retailers of not wanting to pay for the new credit-card readers.

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