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Man loses Rs 1.10 lakh to card cloning! Here’s how you can protect yourself

New Delhi: Card cloning has become a menace in the past couple of years. In fact, in the past few months, several cybercrime incidents involving card cloning have come to light. On Sunday, three government employees lost Rs 2 lakh in three separate cases of card cloning in Lucknow. One of the victims lost Rs 1.10 lakh in the incident.

In February this year, three accused were nabbed for committing robberies using fake ATM cards. The gang had nearly 50 fake ATM cards with them. A report in December last year revealed that in Noida alone, credit card and debit card information theft has gone up by 50%.

As per a ToI report, a Thakurganj resident named Harsh Nath Singh lost Rs 1.10 lakh to card cloning on Sunday. The report mentioned that he received two text messages on Sunday which alerted him that two fraudulent transactions of Rs 55,000 each have been made from his account. Along with him, another woman from Gomtinagar and Vijay Chauhan from Sarojininagar were conned of Rs 50,000 and Rs 40,000 respectively in separate incidents.

What is card cloning?

Credit card-cloning, or skimming, is when someone gets a hold of your credit card details such as card number, CVV, PIN, expiry date, name etc. and copies the details onto a fake/bogus card and starts using the credit card. In the past couple of years waiters, shop assistants, courier boys, former bank employees, petrol pump workers and even MBA graduates have been arrested for stealing card information and using it for making clone cards to steal or spend crores of rupees.

How are cards cloned?

In order to clone cards secretly without letting the cardholder known, a device with a scanning slot is used. These types of devices look like PoS machines which is why sometimes cardholders might miss it. The fraudsters swipe customers’ credit cards discreetly through the device. These devices have software that can store information of up to 3,000 cards.

Once the information of the card is scanned and copied, it can be then be copied on to any expired, blank or stolen card to make a clone of the original card. This cloned card can now be used to carry out transactions from the original credit cardholder’s bank account.

How you can avoid such frauds:

1. EMV chip-based cards: Recently, RBI made it mandatory for people to use EMV chip-based cards instead of Magstripe cards because EMV cards have microchips embedded in them so each time someone tries to scan it, they are only able to get encrypted information. So, if you are using a magstripe card, ditch it immediately and start using EMV chip-based cards for better security.

2. When you are using your card at a public place, always scan the area thoroughly for hidden cameras that might be recording your card number, card details etc. While entering your PIN in PoS machines, make sure to cover your hand.

3. While using your card to swipe PoS machines at petrol pumps, restaurants or any other place, take a good look at the PoS machine. If the machine is bulkier than usual or is out of ordinary, try other payment options.

If your card is cloned, unless your bank intimates you each time your card is being swiped, there is no other way for you to know about it till you get the monthly statement. So, always make sure to keep bank alerts on so that your receive notifications everytime your card is swiped somewhere.

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