CREDIT Card Cloning

Cloning is a type of credit card theft in which the thief makes a digital copy of the credit card information using a concealed or disguised electronic scanner.

Why Do People Clone Cards?

Credit card cloning, also referred to as skimming, is the act of creating unauthorized copies of credit or debit cards. Because of this, fraudsters can use them to make transactions and steal the cardholder's funds or put them in debt. For this, thieves use specialized instruments, occasionally in conjunction with simple social engineering. Card cloning has historically been one of the most common card-related fraud types globally, with annual losses of USD 28.65 billion anticipated to reach USD 38.50 billion by 2023, according to the Nilson Report.

The Process of Card Cloning

Card cloning is a highly sophisticated illegal business. More specifically:

  1. As an accomplice, one looks for someone with direct access to credit cards, such a restaurant waiter or cashier.
  2. They are given a skimmer, a little gadget used to collect card data. This could be a standalone device or an add-on card reader.
  3. The customer hands the partner their card to pay with.
  4. The accomplice swipes the card through both the card skimmer and the POS terminal being used for normal payment.
  5. The accomplice gives the card back to the unaware customer.
  6. The burglar transfers the data from the skimmer to the magnetic strip of a fake card, which may or may not be a stolen card.
  7. The phony card can now be used to commit additional sorts of fraud, such as gift carding and other carding, or it can be used similarly to a real card.

There are, of course, variations on this. Some crooks, for instance, will attach skimmers to portable card readers or ATMs. If consumers swipe or enter their cards as usual, the result will be the same, and the thief can return to get their device: When a credit or debit card is swiped through the skimmer, all the information contained on the magnetic strip is recorded. The criminals may even shoulder-surf or use other social engineering techniques to discover the card's PIN or even the owner's billing address in order to use the stolen card information in other settings.

Four Measures to Prevent Card Cloning

The financial industry, governmental organizations, and merchants have put the following measures into place to make card duplication more challenging:

1. Magnetic stripes are replaced by EMV microchips.

These have more complex iCVV values than magnetic stripes, making them impossible for skimmers to copy. However, according to writings from 2020 in Security Week, hackers have found other ways to attack this kind of card, as well as techniques to convert EMV chip data from magnetic stripes to magnetic stripes, thereby creating a replica of the card. Uninformed people might not be aware of the amount of information that credit and debit cards may provide. You can enter a BIN to find out details about a bank using online bin checker:

2. Client profiles

By building customer profiles, frequently leveraging machine learning and advanced algorithms, payment processors and card issuers get valuable insight into each cardholder's "normal" behavior. This enables them to see any dubious behavior and follow up with the client. When a consumer receives a call from their bank requesting them to confirm that they swiped their card in a region of the country they haven't used before, that is a simple illustration of this.

3. Public education

They are making the general public an ally in the fight against credit and debit card theft that can benefit everyone. Campaigns to educate the public about various forms of card-related fraud have been started by major card issuers, banks, and fintech firms, as well as national and local government organizations like Europol in Europe. It's intriguing to see how the general population responds favorably. Business insider and Fraud Manager at Wargaming Elena Emelyanova offered the following reasoning in a Cat and Mouse Podcast episode from July 2021:

"People's sophistication and knowledge have grown. We've observed in a few situations that people are aware of merchant-side limitations or how to combat chargebacks. People who were unaware of the differences between a refund and a chargeback. Now that they know about it

4. Accountability, legislation, and rules

Due to government regulations and legislation, card issuers have a financial interest in preventing fraud because they frequently have to cover the cost of monies that have been stolen. To prevent fraud as efficiently as possible, this creates an additional, considerable incentive for banks and other organizations that provide payment cards to the general public to safeguard their practices and invest in new technology.

In most countries, ombudsman services can be used for disputed transactions, adding pressure on card companies. However, the existing regulation on this varies from country to country. For example, according to the UK's Financial Ombudsman's Annual Complaints Data and Insight Report, with 170,033 new concerns in 2019/2020, complaints involving banking and credit were the most prevalent category.

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