Most people are aware of credit and debit card frauds. You have either been a victim or you know someone who has been a victim of credit card fraud. There are over 407 million credit cards in use in the United States alone and over 1.5 billion credit cards in use worldwide according to CreditCards.com. Additionally, there are approximately 1.9 billion debit cards being used worldwide. In addition to credit and debit cards it is also possible to duplicate gift cards and electronic benefit transaction cards. That creates a large opportunity for criminals.
One of the most common ways to be victimized is by having someone skim your credit card information and then create a duplicate card that they can then use to make purchases. Skimming is a way to obtain information from debit and credit cards used in machines such as gas pumps and ATMs. The identity thief attaches a device to the machine which records the information on the card’s magnetic strip and copies the data on the chips EMV chip. There are also small hand held skimming devices that can be used by waiters, cashiers, and other individuals who handle your credit and debit cards. This information can then be imprinted on other cards. Miniature cameras are also used to capture the PINs entered by the victims. Criminals can even go on the internet and get the specifications for skimming devices and print them on a 3D printer.
Once the criminal has obtained the information on the credit or debit card they can then use a credit card duplicating device to create a copy of the card. I was able to purchase a copy of a credit card duplicator on the internet for $150 and was able to purchase blank cards for a few cents each. The chip cards cost a little more, around 20 cents when purchased in bulk. I did a test run and copied one of my own credit cards. I then went to a local retail store and made a purchase using a plain white card by swiping the card through the magnetic reader at the retailer. The cashier never asked to see the card nor did she ask for identification. I was able to make a purchase exceeding $250 with a plain white card and a copied magnetic strip. Based on the ease of this transaction I am sure you can see why criminals find this to be a very profitable endeavour.
There is new technology being developed to help reduce the risk of credit card fraud. One way to help reduce the risk of unauthorized transactions is by using a card with a changing security code. The new type of card provides an extra layer of security by replacing the static printed three-digit security code on the back of the card with a mini screen which displays a random code that changes automatically every hour. It is powered by a thin lithium battery designed to last for three years. The screen is synced with the financial institution and can’t be copied by any currently available skimming devices.