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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020

Con artists net €30,000 in space of a week using new ATM scam

The thieves are trapping customers’ cards, distracting them, and then replacing the valid card with a stolen or cancelled one.

Image: ATM via Shutterstock

PEOPLE ARE BEING warned to be aware of a new scam being carried out by thieves at ATM machines.

According to the Irish Payment Services Organisation, the the con-artists are distracting customers while they use machines, and replacing their cards with stolen or cancelled ones. Thieves carrying out the scam have netted €30,000 in the past week from six such cases.

In the course of the deception, the criminal first places a device on the ATM which traps the user’s card in the slot. The unsuspecting customer then uses the machine while the criminal watches as they key in their PIN.

According to the IPSO:

On completing the cash withdrawal the cardholder realises their card is not coming out of the machine. At this point, the criminal offers to help the victim to retrieve their card.  The individual pretends to recover the card but actually gives the victim back a substitute card which looks similar to theirs.

The victim does not realise the ‘retrieved’ card is not theirs until they attempt to use it again. This allows the criminal time to use the genuine card for some time before the loss has been realised by the bona fide cardholder and reported to their bank.

In addition to taking as much cash possible from ATMs, criminals have also been recorded using stolen cards at in-branch kiosks to transfer cash to foreign accounts.

The IPSO – which represents the payments industry – is urging people to warn “elderly or vulnerable friends and family about the scam” and to avoid talking to strangers at ATMS.

The organisation is also reminding customers of the importance of covering up the PIN pad when entering their number.

Read: As many as 300 people have lost money to phishing scams this year >

Read: Warning over increase in ‘phishing’ emails seeking PTSB account details

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