More fall victim to skimmers in resort

PEOPLE in Felixstowe are today being urged to check their bank accounts after more residents discovered their cash cards had been “skimmed” by thieves.

PEOPLE in Felixstowe are today being urged to check their bank accounts after more residents discovered their cash cards had been “skimmed” by thieves.

Bruce Benn, of Westleton Way, Felixstowe, found around £640 had been taken from his account after he used his card at a cashpoint in the town.

When he went to Barclays Bank he found a number of other customers also having suffered losses and seeking help from officials to sort out the situation.

Mr Benn said his account was virtually wiped out and the bank had to lend him money until the situation could be resolved.

He said: “I think there will be a lot of people who perhaps only use their bank card at a cashpoint once a week or even less frequently and could get quite a shock when they next go to see how much there is in their account and see how it has shrunk.

“When I went to the bank it appeared there was still a large number of people being affected.

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“The longer you leave it before you check your account, the more time it gives the thieves - and they seem to take the maximum they can out every day.

“I think it is quite frightening that this can happen and it is such a palaver to sort out.”

Mr Benn said some hole-in-the-wall cash machines in Felixstowe had anti-skimming devices on them and when the thieves targeted these they automatically close down.

He said: “Unfortunately, that means people needing money are then forced to use the other ones in the town which are not protected by the anti-skimming devices and leaves people more vulnerable to the criminals.”

Millions of pounds are going missing every week from bank accounts from “skimming” scams.

The thieves attach a false front to the part of the cashpoint where a user inserts their cards - this device then reads the details from the card's magnetic strip and wirelessly sends them to the thief waiting in a car nearby.

In addition, an accomplice may wait near the machine and take note of people's PIN numbers as they punch them in, or a tiny camera - hidden in a leaflet dispenser or under the top of the machine - will record the PIN.

Police have warned people to be very careful and to check machines thoroughly before they use them for any suspicious devices.

Under new legislation that came into force last year, victims of fraud only have to report the incident to their bank and then they will make a decision on whether it should be investigated by the police.

Have you been a victim of “skimming”? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Be careful at the cashpoint

Always check the machine carefully before use - especially the card slot to make sure there are no devices or anything unusual attached.

Watch out for anyone close by - if they seem too close, cancel the transaction and go to another machine - and do not let yourself be distracted by anyone.

Cover your hand as you enter your PIN by holding your other hand above it.

Wherever possible, always use the same ATM machine, and preferably use one inside the bank if possible.

Always take your receipt - it doesn't contain your full number, but it is best not to give criminals any information at all.

Check your account balance regularly and report to your bank immediately if you think money has gone missing.