Police issue warning over rise in ATM scams

Police have warned ATM users to remain vigilant amid reports of people falling victim to a scam that is happening in the High Peak area during the festive season.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 1:22 pm

While it is convenient to always withdraw some cash at the nearest ATM, Buxton Police Safer Neighbourhood team said this is when the fraudsters take the opportunity to strike.

"Fraudsters get hold of personal details and siphon money from the accounts of unsuspecting victims, who may not realise their card has been stolen until it's too late.

"In some of the worst cases, thousands of pounds have been taken from accounts before the theft of the card was noticed," they said.

Known as "shoulder surfing" by the police, the thieves first watch as their victims enter their PIN numbers at supermarket checkouts.

Typically known for being a technique used at cash machines before a card is snatched, it is also spreading to supermarkets and other stores.

Therefore, the police told the public to beware of thieves working in pairs, following them to the car park and finding a way of distracting them.

"This may be asking for directions, pointing out a supposed flat tyre, looking for a lost child, etc.

Police issue warning over rise in ATM scams
Police issue warning over rise in ATM scams

"Meanwhile, their accomplice steals the victim's wallet, purse or handbag."

To avoid becoming a target, the ATM users are advised to always guard their PIN number.

"Check for anyone watching over your shoulder as you punch in your PIN number at the checkout, and make it as difficult to see the numbers as possible.

"Get into the habit of shielding your PIN number at all times," the police said, adding that the public should also be wary of anyone who approaches them in the car park.

"If you are approached in a car park, be on your guard. If you can, park as close to the store as possible to make it a quick journey to your car. If you are shopping in the evening, try to park under a light. Try to avoid dark corners or areas that are not within view of the supermarkets main entrance.

"Don't write down your PIN anywhere or keep a note of it in your wallet, There is little point shielding your PIN if you've written it in an easy-to-find location for thieves."If you find your card missing, report it immediately to your bank. Check that all recent withdrawals were done by you and monitor your bank statements."