Credit card cloning also known as skimming is illegal and unauthorized copying of a credit card. Fraudsters copy information from your credit card physically and use an electronic device and the data from the stolen card to create a new card that works just like your card.
Sometimes, fraudsters use fake or old credit cards and replace them with a magnetic strip or even chip that is identical to the stolen credit card. Although such crimes are prevalent in some areas, credit card issuers are striving to improve credit card security by introducing features that make it difficult for fraudsters to replicate them.
How Credit Card Cloning Works?
There are numerous ways that fraudsters may use to get your card’s information to clone it. Here is an example of the common process fraudsters use to clone credit cards:
Hire an accomplice: The accomplice often has physical possession of a variety of credit cards. This can be a cashier at a supermarket or a waiter at a restaurant.
Skimming Machine: The accomplice or the fraudsters manages to swipe the card through the skimming machine that copies the details of the credit card. The skimming machine can also be attached to a regular card reader, so it may seem like the cashier is simply swiping the card to process payment, but at the same time, the skimming machine attached to it is capturing the information on the credit card.
Producing a Copy: The captured credit card information is used to make an identical credit card that is later used to withdraw funds just like a legitimate card is used.
There are several different ways, a fraudster can capture your credit card information. Fraudsters install skimmers on ATMs, gas stations, and even on handheld card readers.
Usually, they steal your card’s information through the magnetic strip when you swipe your credit card. Credit cards that use chips are harder to copy as compared to those that are swiped. To avoid counterfeiting your credit card, you can take the following precautions.
How to Stay Safe from Credit Card Cloning?
Examine the ATM or card reader
Some skimming devices can be very noticeable as they are temporarily attached to the card reader. If you find an ATM or a card reader suspicious, don’t swipe your card. Use the contactless payment feature or cash to pay for your purchase.
Keep a Check on Withdrawals
Checking your credit card balance occasionally and remembering your total balance will help you notice such fraudulent activity quickly.
You can also turn on mobile alerts or email alerts to receive a notification whenever an amount is deposited or withdrawn from your credit card account.
Some banks or credit card issuers allow you to place limits on how much money you can withdraw in one day or at once. If the fraudster withdraws small amount of money, you’ll find out sooner and will be able to notify the bank in time. The damage will also be contained because only a small amount will be withdrawn from your credit card.
Use Bank ATMs Only
Bank ATMs are safer as compared to gas stations and other payment kiosks. ATMs in busy locations have lower chances of containing a skimming machine because it is difficult for fraudsters to install them when the ATM is being used constantly.
Use Contactless Payment Option
Most credit card companies nowadays offer the contactless payment feature. When paying, if the vendor accepts contactless payment, use it. Skimming machines can only copy your credit card’s information when it is swiped. Contactless payment can reduce the chances of cloning significantly.