Just 11 days after the last reported false front, we have received this report from PC Alan Richens.

“There was another false front on cash machine outside Tesco’s yesterday (31 May 2006) morning, on this occasion it was Tesco’s staff who alerted police. It has now been retained by police and will be submitted for forensication.

Tesco fraud department and the Royal Bank of Scotland have been contacted, they are introducing anti-skimming devices on ATM’s. Due to the St Margaret’s machine being repeatedly targeted, they will prioritise a device for this machine."

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PC Richens also provided these tips for being safe at a cash machine…

Police Tips For Basic Cash Point Safety

Take simple precautions at cash machines:

  • If you feel that someone near a cash machine is behaving suspiciously, or they make you feel uncomfortable then choose a different machine
  • If anything looks unusual on the machine or it looks as though it may have been tampered with do not use it and report it to the bank.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and if you feel that someone is standing too close and may be able to observe you entering your PIN then cancel the transaction and go to a different machine.
  • Stand close to the machine and always shield the key pad to avoid anyone being able to see you enter your PIN.
  • Once you have completed a transaction put your card and money away discreetly before you leave the machine.
  • If the cash machine retains your card report this to the bank immediately
  • Dispose of your cash machine receipt, mini statement or balance enquiry with care * preferably by tearing them up or shredding them before you discard them.

How is fraud committed at cash machines?

Criminals commit fraud at a cash machine in a number of ways:

  • Shoulder surfing — 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 is 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.

What can I do to prevent myself from becoming a victim of cash machine fraud?

There are three things to consider when preventing yourself from becoming a victim of cash machine fraud.

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, 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 or location manager concerned immediately.

Using a cash machine:

  • Give other users space to enter their PIN in private. We recommend you stand about two metres away from the user in front of you until they have completed their transaction. Some cash machines may have a safety zone on the ground around the machine marking out this area.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If someone is crowding you 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.
  • If your card is retained by a cash machine inform your bank or building society immediately.

Leaving a cash machine:

  • Once you have completed a transaction, discreetly put your money and your card away before leaving the cash machine.
  • Dispose of your cash machine receipt, mini-statement or balance enquiry with care. Tear up or, preferably, shred these items before you discard them.