New Delhi: If you have swiped your debit/credit card for making a payment, even at government centres then the chances are high that the clone of the card is available in the market and cybercriminals may siphon money from it.

Instances of bank card cloning (duplicate card) at restaurants, petrol pumps, ATMs were common but it is going on unperturbed even at government authorised centres. Despite the measure of installing chips in the credit cards, data is copied and a clone can be made.

Azamgarh Police in Uttar Pradesh has arrested a gang which copied data of customers from government’s common service centre (CSC), which helps in getting e-service like birth-death certificate, pension services etc. One of the accused had a franchise of CSC centre where he had installed a card reader and skimmer. These gadgets worth around Rs. 30,000 and are available on all the leading shopping portals. It is capable of copying the data from the magnetic strips of banking card which can be further downloaded to make a clone, explained Triveni Singh, superintendent of police Azamgarh who cracked the case.

After getting the data of the customer's card all these criminals need is their password for which they install a spy camera which is placed such that it records the pin entered by the customer while making the payment.

Triveni Singh said that the gang never used these cards in the nearby area but copied this data on a blank card which can be bought for Rs 15 each and sell it to criminals in metro cities who swipe or withdraw money from it. "A batch of stolen data is sold to various criminals spread out across the country. They misuse it and 25 per cent of the total amount is being paid to the gang as their commission,” Singh explained.

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The real trouble begins here as the customer has the card in his possession but the card is misused several hundred kilometres away. In such cases, both the police and bank blames the customer for the leak not realising that he has never passed on his card details to anyone.  The scam is not only causing a huge loss to the account holder but also causing a major dent to the banks.

“The situation is worrying as it has become very easy to buy such gadgets and watch tutorials on YouTube to run the card cloning scam. The network of these gangs is spread across India. We have found data of 5,000 people in their laptops and we are in the process of ascertaining how many cards they have cloned,” Triveni Singh told MyNation.

He said that he is going to write to the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) to track and to do mapping of such crimes so that these criminals can be arrested. Also, there is a need for stringent security feature which can make bank cards more secured and cloning could be avoided.

How does card skimming works

Skimmer or a card reader is a matchbox-shaped gadget which can be fixed over a swiping device or ATM machines. When a credit/debit card is swiped on a device where a skimmer is installed, the device captures and stores all the details stored in the card’s magnetic stripe. The stripe contains the credit card number and expiration date and the credit card holder’s full name. Thieves use the stolen data to make a copy of the card.