By Brooke Rogers | CBS11 News

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s a tiny chip that elicits big opinions.

Meant to protect customers from credit card fraud, most cards now have security chips, and many businesses bought the chip readers to go with it. But more than a year after they became common place, research shows that identity theft is actually up.

“With all the credit card hacking and privacy invasion, I think it’s a fantastic idea,” said one consumer.

Not so, said another. “It holds you up. It’s annoying.”

Consumers and businesses switched to the chip-based cards and readers 16 months ago to deter theft. But a study released this week from Javelin Strategy and Research found that identity fraud cases rose 16 percent in 2016, which equates to 15.4 million new victims – a record high. Lane Conner, founder and CEO of credit card processor Fuze said the chip rollout was bungled from the start, in part because it was supposed to require a pin – not just a signature.

“The real security was supposed to be the pin and actually putting your pin in when you actually dip the card,” he said. “A bad guy could just as easily steal your wallet, go and dip a credit card into a machine and sign for it like they’re you as you could swiping a card.

He also said the increase in e-commerce is to blame, since online shopping offers virtually no credit card protection. For business owner kory helfman of ken’s man’s shop, the spike in fraud cases is concerning.

“It scares me as a business owner, not only for our store but also for our clientele. No one wants to come under any kind of fraud,” he said.

But overall Conner is comfortable with the protection the chip readers gives. And that’s a good thing given the chip is here to stay.

“As badly as it was done, the ship has sailed on ever going back to swiping cards,” said Conner.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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