Cloned Credit Cards 101

MoneyTips

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, imitation of your credit cards must be the sincerest form of identity theft.

For years, identity thieves have produced copies of credit cards (otherwise called card cloning) by stealing the information stored on a card’s magnetic stripe and transferring it onto fake cards for their own use. Magnetic stripe cards carry and transmit the same card information with each purchase.

Thieves often gather this information by installing skimmers or shimmers on card readers. Generally speaking, skimmers are overlays that fit on top of card reader slots to gather magnetic stripe information, while shimmers are installed inside reader slots and are designed to record information from EMV cards (commonly called chip cards).

You probably already have an EMV card. Most card issuers switched to

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