New measures to protect you at ATMs

BANKS today reassured Suffolk customers that they are doing everything they can to stay one step ahead of thieves and make cashpoints as secure as possible.

Richard Cornwell

BANKS today reassured Suffolk customers that they are doing everything they can to stay one step ahead of thieves and make cashpoints as secure as possible.

After customers in Felixstowe were stung by scammers, Barclays and Lloyds TSB urged customers to be vigilant but said they are rolling out new “hole in the wall” machines with anti-skimming devices at branches across the country.

Financial experts say new chip and pin cards should also be helping to cut down on cashpoint fraud.

The Association of Payment Clearing Services said chip and pin technology prevents fraud by storing information on a smart chip, rather than magnetic strips, which makes cards harder to clone.

Gangs from London have been targeting Felixstowe's cashpoint users - taking hundreds of pounds out of people's accounts.

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One man was left with 50p in his account after thieves took £600 - withdrawing money in St John's Wood, London, less than four hours after skimming his card in Felixstowe - and another couple lost £1,130.

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.

Some financial experts say banks have been losing hundreds of millions of pounds a year, but now the banks are hitting back.

Lloyds TSB and Barclays have been attaching anti-skimming devices to their cash machines after research showed three quarters of adults were concerned about withdrawing money from cash machines in case fraudsters copy their card details.

A spokesman for Lloyds TSB said: “We are doing everything we can to ensure that our cash machines are safe to use but we also need customers' help and we urge people to be vigilant when using cash machines and report anything suspicious.”

Barclays began trialling a new type of hole in the wall machine three years ago. The new machines make it more difficult to attach cloning devices, as there is a convex-shaped cover over the card slot.

Electronic sensors fitted inside the card slot are also able to tell if anything other than a valid card is being inserted.

Have you been a victim of “skimming”? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 or write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Did you know?

Cashpoints were first introduced in 1967 - Barclays was the first company to use them. They supply 63 per cent of all cash to individuals.

More than £180 billion is withdrawn a year - an average of more than £5,000 per second.