ATM scammers steal €30,000 in last week
Criminals trap cards in ATM machines and swap them after offering to help retrieve card
Criminals are placing a device on ATM machines which traps the user’s card in the slot. The criminal then swaps it for a fake card after offering to retrieve it. Photograph: Getty
More than €30,000 has been stolen in the past week through an ATM scam, according to the Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO).
The IPSO today warned that criminals are placing a device on ATM machines which traps the user’s card in the slot.
A person watches while the user types in their pin number and withdraws their cash. When the user’s card doesn’t come out the person then offers to help, pretending to recover the card but actually giving the user a different one.
“You wouldn’t notice the device,” said Una Dillon, head of card services at IPSO. “When the card gets stuck the person says that has happened to me before, I’ll get it out for you.”
Of the six reported cases so far these replacement cards have either been previously stolen or cancelled.
Generally the user does not realise their card has been replaced, which allows the person who stole it to withdraw as much cash as possible until it is reported stolen.
“Because they have got the money they are probably not going to use the card again for a while,” Ms Dillon said.
Both on-street ATMs and those at in branch kiosks have been used by those operating the scam. Elderly people in particular have been targeted and the stolen cards have also been used to transfer money to foreign accounts.
Ms Dillon said that IPSO was in the process of getting a full report on the extent of the scam.
“We know that there are a lot more cases,” she said. “We’re just collecting the numbers at the moment.”
So far the reported cases have just been in the Dublin area however Ms Dillon did warn that in the past, ATM scams which started in the capital had spread to other parts of the country.
At the minute the banks are refunding losses however this could change in the future and the customer could be held liable.
The IPSO was made aware of the issue today and warned people to avoid talking to strangers at ATMs and to always cover their pin, which will prevent the scam from working.
Unusual activity, such as not retrieving a card from the machine, should be reported and anyone who believes they may have been affected by the scam should immediately contact their bank, which will check for any unauthorised cash withdrawals or activity.
“People shouldn’t assume that it’s just a technical issue,” Ms Dillon said. “Once [THE CARD]is out of their sight and out of their possession they need to report it.”
The IPSO also provides regular updates and advice regarding such scams on its Facebook page.