Kingsport police investigating several cloned debit card cases; how to keep your information safe

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) The Kingsport Police Department is currently investigating several cases of what they say appear to be cloned debit cards.

It is a trend police say they’re seeing more and more of. In the cases they’re investigating, police say the victims still have their original card in their possession, leading police to believe someone stole the information and cloned it.

“We’re seeing more and more cloned cards where that original card is still in owner’s possession but yet charges are popping up on it right and left,” said Kingsport Police Department Public Information Officer, Tom Patton.

“Basically they steal the information off of an existing card and reproduce it,” said Rebecca White, Marketing Director with the Bank of Tennessee.

The crime, White says, is pretty easy to commit. Criminals plant a skimming device where you use or swipe your card – like a gas pump, train station terminal or ATM.

“The skimming device reads all the information off this magnetic strip and stores it. Then the criminal takes that information that’s been stolen and they implant that into a new magnetic strip and a new card,” White said.

So we wanted to know – how can you make sure crooks don’t get their hands on your money and information?

“The biggest thing is to make sure that your debit card or credit card has this, it’s called a chip,” White said. “This encrypts all the information on your magnetic strip.”

White also recommends monitoring your account.

“Constantly look for suspicious activity. See if there are purchases that are going on that aren’t yours,” she said.

You can also set up alerts for unusual activity using your bank’s online banking alert system, as well as inspect card reader devices. If something looks out of place, don’t use the machine.

“This isn’t a unique problem to Kingsport, this is a rising crime throughout our nation,” Patton said. “This is just a prime example about why we have to be really careful and diligent about safe guarding our personal information.”

If you have any information that can help detectives track down the suspects using cloned cards, call the Kingsport Police Department at 423-229-9429.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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