FRAUDSTERS are targeting cash machines across Cheshire and using underhand means to scam the public.
Cheshire police are alerting people to a series of cash point scams that are occurring across the county, where offenders are card skimming and cash trapping to dupe the public out of their money.
Operation Astoria has been put in place by the Economic Crime Unit to concentrate on crime related to ATMs within the Cheshire Force area.
Officers have outlined the three main methods fraudsters are using to commit the scams:
Card skimming involves the use of the video recording element of mobile telephones to capture the pin numbers of innocent ATM users.
These adapted mobile telephones are usually hidden above the pin number area. The fraudster attaches a false mouthpiece which will read and copy the details on the magnetic strip of the card.
Once these details have been copied, this information can be transferred on to a new card and, with the pin number, they can withdraw money from the victim’s account.
Card entrapment involves the fraudster uses an adapted mobile telephone to record the pin being inputted by the victim but will use a device to trap the victim’s card once it has been placed into the machine.
The victim usually believes that the card has been retained by the cash machine due to a problem.
The fraudster will recover the original card and the pin and is then ready to use the card.
Cash trapping places a device over the area where the money is released from the cash machine. The device traps the money, making the victim believe the machine has a problem and is not releasing any funds.
The fraudster will then collect the device and the money.
In the North West, UK card fraud has dropped considerably over the last five years but still accounts for £21m, making the region the second worst in the UK.
DC Tony Condon, from the Economic Crime Unit said: “There have been an increasing number of attacks on ATMs across Cheshire, where the fraudsters are all three methods to obtain money from innocent victims. “
“Our intelligence suggests that organised crime groups are responsible for the attacks and are of Eastern European origin which has in turn led to more overseas spend on fraudulent use of UK cards and stolen identity.”
If you wish to report any suspicious activity, contact Cheshire Police on 101 or visit the fraud page at cheshire.police.uk.