Cumbria Police are advising the public to be aware, be alert and be safe when using Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) or cash machines.
In the last week, Police in North Cumbria have attended four incidents throughout Carlisle where bank ATM machines have been tampered with in order to steal cash and / or bank cards.
There are a number of different ways in which criminals commit fraud at cash machines:
- Shoulder surfing – This is where criminals look over your shoulder and watch you enter your PIN, then steal your card using distraction techniques or pick pocketing.
- Card-trapping – a device inserted into a cash machine card slot that retains your card inside the cash machine. The criminals trick you into re-entering your PIN while they watch. After you give up and leave the criminals remove the device, with your card, and withdraw cash.
- Skimming – A skimming device is attached to the card slot in order to copy your card details and a separate, miniature pinhole camera is hidden overlooking the PIN pad to film you inputting your PIN. The criminal then produces a counterfeit card with your card details on it and withdraws money at a cash machine, using your PIN.
Claire Stevens, Crime Prevention Officer with the police’s Community Safety Unit in North Cumbria, said “People should not be worried to use cash machines but they do need to be aware of the ways in which their details can be obtained. This will help them take basic precautions and hopefully reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim.”
The following points are basic precautions and advice which people can use to try and prevent them from becoming a victim:
Choosing a cash machine
- Put your personal safety first
- Be aware of others around you. If someone close to the cash machine is behaving suspiciously or makes you feel uncomfortable please use another machine
- If there is anything unusual about the cash machine or there are signs of tampering, do not use the machine and report it to the bank and police immediately
Using a cash machine
- Give others space to enter their PIN in private. We recommend standing about 2 metres away from the user in front of you until they have completed their transaction.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If someone is crowding or watching you, cancel the transaction and go to another machine
- DO NOT accept help from ‘well-meaning’ strangers and never allow yourself to be distracted
- Stand close to the cash machine and always shield the keypad to avoid anyone seeing you enter your PIN
Leaving a cash machine
- Once you have completed the transaction, discreetly put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine
- If the cash machine does not return your card, report its loss immediately to your bank
- Dispose of your cash machine receipt, mini-statement or balance enquiry with care. Tear them up or preferably shred them before you discard them.
Claire Stevens continued “We can all become complacent when using an ATM because it is something we do most weeks. However, remember – when using cash points always check to see if it appears to be unusual or if its appearance has changed since you last used it.
“If you do see anything untoward, do not use the machine and report it to the bank and police immediately. Report any unusual transactions immediately to your bank.
“By being more vigilant and aware when using cash machines, we can make it more difficult for criminals to carry out these crimes and reduce the number of people becoming a victim.”
For further help and advice visit our force website at www.cumbria.police.uk or alternatively call 101 and ask to speak to your local Crime Prevention Officer.
People can also visit www.cardwatch.org.uk for more advice and safety tips.