Credit Card Cloning with MSR – Updated Guide

Credit card cloning or skimming is the illegal act of making unauthorized copies of credit or debit cards. As a result, thieves can use them to make purchases, thus taking the cardholder’s money and/or putting them in debt.

Hackers utilize special tools for this, sometimes in conjunction with straightforward social engineering. Card cloning has traditionally been one of the most prevalent card-related types of fraud worldwide. According to Nilson Report, this theft costs the global economy USD 28.65 billion annually and is expected to reach USD 38.50 billion by 2023.

How Credit Card Cloning Works

From the perspective of the thieves, cloning can be a very effective way to obtain credit card information, because it does not require the physical credit card to be stolen. Instead, they simply use an electronic device to covertly scan the card’s information and copy it into the device’s memory. The thieves can then access that information digitally, or else download the information onto a separate credit card that is already in their possession.1

Once the information is recorded it can be transferred onto the magnetic strip of a new card or can be used to overwrite data on an already stolen credit card. For cards that use a personal identification number (PIN) number in addition to a magnetic strip, such as debit cards, the PIN would need to be observed and recorded. This is sometimes difficult to accomplish, adding additional protection against having your card compromised.1

Of course, modern security enhancements have made it more difficult for would-be thieves to carry out cloning. Modern chip cards—which have embedded microchips that contain their sensitive information—are much harder to compromise because the data they contain is encrypted within the chip itself. This means that even if the thieves successfully access the chip card, they would not be able to use the information they stole. But even this type of technology isn’t foolproof.

Still, older models of credit cards that only have magnetic stripes make for much easier targets.

Tools Needed for Credit Card Cloning

Now, I’ll go out the process that takes the trash and turns it into a swipe-ready card. If you’ve read my other postings on the subject of “dumps” and “skimming,” you already know what I mean by “dumps” and how a thief may empty your bank account using a counterfeit card.

The tools needed to encode a dump in a magnetic card strip are readily available for purchase online and the process itself takes just a few minutes.

Computer – The common laptop or home PC, everyone knows what it is and how to use it.

Pre Printed magnetic strip cards are cards that look like bank-issued cards. The good quality cards even have UV light security and the logo and hologram of the issuer. Those carders who hit high, like apple stores, gold shops, etc need this kind of card which they have to emboss with the card number, expiration date, and holder name. The clone will look like a genuine card and the fraud will be very difficult to detect.

Some carders print by themself the plastics but pre-printed plastic also can be bought. The price of a pre-printed plastic with UV light bypass, logo, and hologram starts from $10 and can reach $30.I’ll write a new post about PVC card printers, UV ribbons, and card templates.

Magnetic Stripe – If you look in the back of any card, you’ll find a gray magnetic strip that runs parallel to its longest edge and is about ½ inch wide. This stripe uses technology similar to music tapes to store information in the card and is transmitted to a reader when the card is “swiped” at the point of sale.

Magstripe-only cards are being phased out due to the relative ease with which they are cloned. Given that they do not offer any encoding protection and contain static data, they can be duplicated using a simple card skimmer that can be purchased online for a few dollars.

EMV Chip Cards – If you look in the front side of most newer cards, you will also notice a small rectangular metallic insert close to one of the card’s shorter edges. This is an EMV (which stands for EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa) microchip, which uses more advanced technology to store and transmit information every time the card is “dipped” into a POS terminal.

EMV cards offer far superior cloning protection versus magstripe ones because chips protect each transaction with a dynamic security code that is useless if replicated.

Sadly but unsurprisingly, criminals have developed technology to bypass these security measures: card shimming. Even if it is far less common than card skimming, it should by no means be ignored by consumers, merchants, issuers, or networks.

Contactless Cards – The newest cards in the market today are equipped with a third way of storing and transmitting information through radio-frequency identification technology (RFID). This allows them to communicate with card readers by simple proximity, without the need for dipping or swiping. Some refer to them as “smart cards” or “tap to pay” transactions.

Contactless payments offer increased protection against card cloning, but using them does not mean that all fraud-related problems are solved.

All cards that include RFID technology also include a magnetic band and an EMV chip, so cloning risks are only partially mitigated. Further, criminals are always innovating and come up with new social and technological schemes to take advantage of customers and businesses alike.

Embosser – it is a machine used to emboss the card details (card number, expiration date, and holder name) o the pre-printed card. In the market you can find manual or automatic embosser, price starts from $250 to $3000. According to the embossing speed and quality.

The software of the MSR must be installed in the computer and the machine must be connected to the computer by a data transfer wire. And the MSR is ready to encode the dumps in the cards.

So with a pre-printed card and embosser and an MSR, the clone of the card is ready to use. Pre-printed cards are embossed with the dump detail then using the MSR the magnetic strip of the card encodes the dump. And here you have the card ready to swipe. This all for today guys. Stay safe and good luck!


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