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Credit Card Cloning and The EMV Chip

Credit Card Cloning and The EMV Chip - The Beacon


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By: Tom

Credit Card Cloning and The EMV Chip

I looked through some of my e-mails and noticed a number of them dealt with the topic of credit/debit card cloning. So I decided to a little research on the topic to provide information to readers of The Beacon, our BBB® blog.

One way criminals get your card information is by skimming. We’ve discussed skimming in previous posts. For example, when you visit a filling station to purchase gas, sometimes criminals will attach a skimming device over the reader on the pump to obtain card information. What I learned is that once your credit/debit card information is taken by skimming, a new card with your card number and the criminal’s address is created which then works just like your original card. For more information about skimming or cloning, see

The next question that arose, was how would this work with the new EMV chip that we’re supposed to have? I read that some people feel the EMV chip is impossible to clone, and here’s why.

One explanation is that the chip is a physical device that is implanted onto the card, and since this is a physical device and not virtual, it would be impossible to clone it. I also learned that with the identification technology of radio frequency identification (RFDI) or magnetic strips, these can only “transmit” a single number. This makes it relatively simple to clone. The traditional card, with its magnetic strip, uses “static” information. The information embedded is not capable of being changed, and therefore, more easily hacked. The EMV chip technology uses “dynamic” information. Because it’s a microprocessor, is capable of creating new code each time the card is used.

So how will the bad guys get around the EMV technology? The simple answer is through identity theft. In essence, they just create a new account with your identity and obtain credit cards in your name. To protect yourself, you will need to be vigilant by monitoring your credit reports. For more information regarding this and more, visit To obtain your credit reports, visit

For more information on this and other scams, visit, and to report a scam, go to

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Tom is Vice President for the Tri-State Better Business Bureau. In addition to answering the needs of our accredited businesses, Tom can be seen on WEVV providing tips for businesses and consumers. He also works closely with other local media outlets to keep our community informed of marketplace issues affecting our area.