What Is Credit Card Cloning?
Making an unauthorised clone of a credit card is referred to as credit card cloning. Skimming is another name for this action. Using an electronic device, thieves copy data from a credit card terminal, transfer it to a new card, or overwrite an existing card with the information.
Unfortunately, cloning and related stealing methods have proliferated like wildfire in recent years. Fortunately, security upgrades like the use of personal identification numbers (PINs) and chip cards have made it possible to fend against these attacks.
How Credit Card Cloning Works
Because cloning doesn’t require the real credit card to be taken, it can be an extremely successful method for criminals to access credit card information. Instead, they merely secretly scan the card’s data using an electronic device and transfer it to the device’s memory. The information can then be downloaded onto a different credit card that the thieves already have or accessed digitally by the criminals.
Once the data has been captured, it may be overwritten on a stolen credit card or transferred to the magnetic strip of a new card.
The personal identification number (PIN) would need to be seen and noted for cards that employ a PIN in addition to a magnetic stripe, such debit cards. It might be challenging to do this, but it adds another layer of security against card fraud.1
Of fact, contemporary security upgrades have made it more challenging for would-be criminals to use cloning. Modern chip cards are far more difficult to hack since the data they carry is encrypted within the chip itself. These cards include implanted microchips that hold their important information. Because of this, even if the thieves were to gain access to the chip card, they would be unable to use the data they had taken. However, even this kind of technology is not infallible.
However, earlier credit card versions with simply magnetic stripes are significantly simpler to steal.
Shimming, a technique used by criminals to target chip cards, has become more popular in recent years. Thin, paper-thin devices called “shimmies” that copy data from chip cards are inserted into card reader slots by fraudsters.
Example of Cloning
Installing covert scanners on genuine card-reading equipment, such as petrol pumps, automated teller machines (ATMs), or the point-of-sale (POS) terminals used in most retail establishments, is a frequent technique used by criminals.1
These attacks are especially sneaky because they don’t require the assistance of the employees at such establishments. Instead, without the consumers, workers, or company owners being aware of the source of the breach, individuals in charge of the assault may simply gather data on a continuous basis from the concealed scanners.
How to Protect Yourself Against Credit Card Cloning
The following measures will help you prevent credit card cloning:
Verify any card readers you employ.
Inspect the card reader for a moment. Never utilise anything that appears to be questionable. For instance, certain skimming equipment may be large.
Watch your credit card balance.
Watch out for fraud on your accounts. Frequently, maybe daily, check your balance and recent transactions online.
Register for notifications
Register for notifications with your bank or credit card company. In the event that specific activity on your accounts, such as a withdrawal or charge that exceeds the limit you select, your bank will then get in touch with you through email or text message.
Use bank ATMs only
Use ATMs that are connected to banks only. Avoid places where people could be “skimming,” such deli kiosks and petrol stations.
Utilise a chip reader
Never swipe a card; always use a chip reader. With a chip card, cloning is still feasible but less likely to happen.
Select contactless transactions
Use the contactless payment option on your debit or credit cards if it is available rather than sticking your card into a reader.
EMV cards, which stand for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, are another name for chip cards. These three businesses worked together to create a widely used global system for credit card security.
How to Handle a Cloned Credit Card
Your credit card provider or bank should be your first call if you think your card has been copied. The less time criminals have to build up charges, the faster you can deactivate the card.