CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Credit card cloners are hitting Charlotte hard.
"It's the new fraud, it's a new way of making a lot of money," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) Detective Tori Roddey.
The detective is talking about crooks who steal a victim's financial information, then clone it to use a fake credit card.
"So what they do is take a card, strip all the information on it, and put all the victim's information on the card," Detective Roddey said. "And a cloned card can be a regular credit card that they've stripped, or an actual gift card."
Earlier in February, a bearded man carrying a package he'd bought from another store walked into the UnderArmour at Premium Outlets.
On surveillance video, we see him go to the counter and pay by credit card. But the information on that piece of plastic is not his.
Police can't say how he stole the account number from his victim - there are many different ways. They only know the victim spotted purchases on his account that he didn't make. What's more, the victim had his credit cards in his possession at the time of those purchases. The crook was using a cloned card.
"The guy that was shown in the video, that we're trying to find out who he is, he went and bought more gift cards," Detective Roddey said.
Gift cards are untraceable and don't need an ID. Police say this man and another racked up a combined $1,100 of cloned card purchases from the same victim. But what really worries detectives is that these are far from the only two cloning crooks.
"Most of these guys and females, they stay in town for a little while, get all they can get and go on," the detective said. "But some are actually locals, so hopefully this guy is local and we can identify him."
Police need an arrest to slow down these cloning crooks.
"It's so huge now, probably half our emails each day are from credit card theft."
The advice is to make sure to keep an eye on your accounts. If you can, switch to cards that use the new imbedded chip - those are much tougher to clone.
If you recognize the bearded man, please call Crime Stoppers. There's a reward available by calling 704-334-1600.