Filed under: Computers
Not too long ago, 22-year-old Sealtiel Chacon Zepeda, from Beaverton, Oregon, began cooking up a scheme to copy gift cards from local stores. He knew he couldn’t just swipe the cards and run, since they would need to be activated by a cashier before he could use them. So, he decided to clone them instead — at the direct expense of consumers.
After performing 20 hours of online research, Zepeda purchased an electronic card reader, stole a handful of cards from his local Fred Meyer store, and scanned them with his reader. He then discretely returned the cards, and waited until a special computer program detected that another customer had bought one of his cards. With the help of a magnetic card writer, the scam artist would then rewrite the magnetic strip information on another leftover stolen card, supplying it with the data from the card that someone else had purchased. With his newly cloned card, Zepeda would purchase items for personal use, for re-sale, or, in the event that he needed some cash, for immediate store returns.