Cash machine scams plummet

CASH machine skimming in Suffolk has plummeted to its lowest level in more than a year, it was revealed today.The news comes at a time when reports of the scam, which costs banks millions of pounds each year, are on the increase across the country.

CASH machine skimming in Suffolk has plummeted to its lowest level in more than a year, it was revealed today.

The news comes at a time when reports of the scam, which costs banks millions of pounds each year, are on the increase across the country.

Various tricks have been employed to raid customers' accounts, with cash points in superstores and other isolated areas often being prime targets.

Now, following an ongoing Suffolk police fight against the problem, the number of instances has been dramatically reduced, with a number of gadgets seized that crooks used to carry out the sting.


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Ipswich has been the main target for the tricksters, although Felixstowe, Sudbury and Martlesham Heath have also been targeted.

In the first three months of the year, from January to March, 151 offences were recorded in the county. This dropped to 101 between April and July, and to 47 between August and December.

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Paul Rawlings, hi-tech fraud officer at Suffolk police, said raised awareness of the issue has been the key to the crackdown.

He said: "This is an encouraging result when reports, intelligence and statistics indicate this type of offence is on the increase throughout the United Kingdom.

"Suffolk appears to have successfully deterred offenders from committing this type of offence in our county.

"Making people aware of the problem has proved to be a very good preventative measure."

Mr Rawlings said the best way to prevent people accessing your account is to cover the keypad of automatic teller machines (ATM).

"The message is, conceal or reveal it. Placing your hand over the ATM is the most effective way of preventing this type of crime.

"They can't do anything unless they've got your Pin number."

Have you been a victim of a scam like this? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTfacts Types of cash machine crime

Shoulder surfing – Where criminals look over a cardholder's shoulder to watch the personal identification number (Pin) being entered, then steal the card using distraction techniques or pick-pocketing.

Card-trapping devices – A device, inserted into a cash machine's card slot, retains the card inside the machine. The criminal tricks the victim into re-entering the Pin while the criminal watches. After the cardholder gives up and leaves, the criminal removes the device, with the card, and withdraws the cash.

Skimming at cash machines - A skimming device is attached to the card entry slot and a miniature camera is hidden overlooking the Pin pad. This enables the criminal to produce a counterfeit card and withdraw money at a cash machine using the legitimate Pin.

Source: Association for Payment Clearing Services.

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