CREDIT CARD CLONING
|Could you spot a cloned card?
Credit card fraud is a huge problem and it's
getting worse. But it's not card theft that poses the greatest problem
- it's card cloning.
Inside Out follows the Bedfordshire Police to
find out how they are tackling the problem.
A fraudulent card transaction
takes place every eight seconds and cloning is the biggest type of credit
Last year card fraud losses totalled £424.6 million
and the problem is getting worse.
Cloning a credit card takes seconds. Whilst a card is
being swiped for payment - dishonest staff can swipe the card details
which are downloaded on computer.
A duplicate card is made and until your next credit card
statement arrives to alert you - the cloner can spend at will.
spent £1,200 on Guy Willis' credit card
Restaurants provide card cloners with the best opportunities
to commit fraud as it is commonplace for credit cards to be taken away
from the table to be swiped.
This is exactly what happened to Guy Willis from Bedford.
Guy had been for a business lunch and it wasn't until
he was later contacted by the police, that Guy realised a copy of his
card had been made.
"I handed over my card to pay and I had no idea at
all that this had happened," explains Guy.
With time on their side, the cloners spent £1,200
on the copied card. Guy is now extra vigilant where is credit card is
"I never let my card out of my sight," says
Guy. "In restaurants I get up and follow my card."
|TOP TIPS TO AVOID
CREDIT CARD FRAUD
It's physically stolen from your bag or wallet, or home,
and an impostor pretends to be you to obtain goods or services.
Cloning (also called 'skimming'):
of a shop, petrol station, or restaurant puts your card into an
electronic reading device and steals your card details.
Details may be obtained from card
theft, skimming or going through someone's receipts, or copying
down details during a transaction. Goods or services are fraudulently
obtained by buying over the phone, internet, from mail order or
To prevent card fraud:
Keep your cards and cheque books safe, and do
not let anyone know your PIN numbers even if they say they're from
the police or the credit card company.
When paying by card, don't let it out of your
Only use secure, well-known internet sites when
Always check bank and credit card statements carefully,
and query anything you don't recognise immediately.
Be careful when disposing of bank statements and
credit card receipts. Criminals search dustbins for these.
If you think your card is stolen or copied:
Call your card issuer immediately.
Your card will be cancelled by the issuer. If
you still have it in your possession, remember not to use it again.
Check with a credit reference agency such as Experian
or Equifax to make sure no fraudulent applications for credit have
been made in your name.
At the present time, it is only a signature that proves
ownership of a credit card. Spotting a stolen or copied card therefore
falls to shop staff and their vigilance.
Inside Out put this vigilance to the test.
Inside Out presenter Nick Lawrence armed with a hidden
camera and his wife's credit card pays a visit to three different retailers.
A petrol station, a DIY store and an electrical superstore
are put to the test.
Not only do the assistants fail to spot that Nick's signature
does not match that on the card - they also fail to notice that Nick is
not a woman!
If retailers are failing to check simple card details
such as name and signature, there is little hope they will be able to
identify a copied card.
Card cloning may be happening at a local level, but this
is by no means a small time operation.
"This is highly organised crime," explains DC
Simon Russen of Bedfordshire Police's Fraud Squad.
"It is such an easy way for criminals to make money
which they use to fund other crime. Terrorism, immigration - you name
Simon would like so see stiffer sentences introduced to
help the battle against card crime.
The credit card companies are also involved in the battle
Barclaycard headquaters are currently running chip and
PIN trials in Northampton.
Chips with everything
The chip and PIN credit cards will require a PIN number
to activate a transaction, making card cloning near impossible.
"Chip and PIN is the biggest change in retail since
decimalisation," says Ian Spencer, Head of Barclaycard Northampton.
"It will wipe out 50% of card fraud."
Without the introduction of chip and PIN cards, it is
estimated that card losses would climb to a billion pounds by the year
It will be a few years before all credit cards use the
chip and PIN system, so until then, vigilance is the only defence.
A credit card is worth thousands of pounds to criminals
- and you foot the bill. So next time you are about to let your card out
of your sight, think twice - it could be the most expensive purchase of