Cashpoint scam warning

PEOPLE withdrawing money from cashpoints in Felixstowe were today warned to be on their guard after thieves "skimmed" card details to raid bank accounts.

PEOPLE withdrawing money from cashpoints in Felixstowe were today warned to be on their guard after thieves "skimmed" card details to raid bank accounts.

A number of people are understood to have suffered losses after a series of incidents in the town involving ATMs outside banks and building societies.

Police have urged people to check the hole-in-the-wall machines thoroughly for any suspicious devices before using them, and to make sure no-one is close enough to see them punch in their PIN number.

One man who lost out, visitor Steve Callaghan said he was shocked to find a "substantial amount" of money taken out of his account over four days.


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Mr Callaghan, who was visiting relatives at the resort, said he noticed nothing unusual about the cash machine.

"The machine worked as normal and I didn't notice anything suspicious at all - we put our card into the machine, took it out, got our money and went," he said.

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"But it seems somehow someone has cloned our card and then taken money out of our account. My biggest problem is trying to convince our bank of that."

A police spokeswoman confirmed that there had been a series of thefts involving cash points in Hamilton Road over the Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend.

She appealed for people to be mindful of the possibility of thieves tampering with the machines and to be careful when using them.

"We would remind people to examine the machine closely before using it to see if there is anything stuck to it or in the card slot, and if there is anything that does not look right, do not use the machine and report it immediately to the bank or to the police," she said.

"People should also keep an eye out for anyone lurking about near the machines or trying to look over their shoulder when they are putting in their PIN number."

"Skimming" devices that copy and record account details from the magnetic strip of each bank card have been found at automated telling machines (ATMs) across the country.

In a few instances thieves have also used a mini camera secreted above cash point keyboards to allow video pictures to be relayed so they could note the PIN number as they waited in a nearby in a car.

Another method has been the infamous "Lebanese loop" scam in which false plastic slots have been used to capture users' cards.

The thief usually watches to see the PIN number punched in by the cardholder and when the card is not returned waits for the cardholder to leave before they remove the false slot and use the PIN to withdraw cash.

Banks are working closely with the police on cash point security and say the new chip and PIN technology being phased in will prevent the cloning of cards and provide customers with a further safeguard against fraud.

Do you have a story about cashpoint theft? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

See tomorrow's Star for an in-depth look at the problem of cashpoint skimming.

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