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Cash-Point Users Urged to Check Their Statements
Cheltenham Police are urging anyone who used a lower High Street cash machine earlier this year to keep a close eye on their bank statements.
Officers seized a skimming device from the ATM outside the Tesco Metro store in May. Its discovery followed reports that money had disappeared from several people's accounts without their knowledge.
Five months on, a pensioner who used this cash-point at the time the skimmer was thought to be in use has discovered £80 has been withdrawn from his account through a transaction in Northampton.
PC Neil Lorimer who is investigating the case said: "Having discovered details taken back in May are now being used in Northampton we're asking people who used this machine at this time to look at their bank statements and make sure they don't show anything unexpected. We'd ask anyone who spots something suspicious to contact us straight away as building up a picture of transactions will help us to trace the offender."
Skimmers are used to copy unsuspecting victims' cards by reading their magnetic strip. They are often used in conjunction with a tiny camera placed near the keypad to record the victim's PIN.
Offering advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of criminals who use such devices, PC Lorimer continued: "We're urging people to be vigilant when using cash-points and asking them to report anything suspicious to bank staff immediately or to police if they aren't available.
Before you use an ATM, check there are no gaps around the card slot or where the machine is attached to the wall, the face of the cash-point should be firmly fitted to the wall. If in doubt, give it a pull to check there's no illegal attachment.
"If the slot where you insert the card is loose or is jutting out and looks like it has been added onto the machine, don't use it and report it straight away.
"People should also be vigilant about others in the queue and nearby. Make sure they can't see your PIN by concealing the pad with your other hand while you type it in, this will also help to prevent it being recorded on a camera. You should keep an eye out for people observing the cash-point, even from a distance of up to 50 metres away, too.
"Finally, make sure you know your bank's 24-hour helpline number and if your card is swallowed, call to make sure there's a genuine reason as sometimes criminals use this method to take cards and use them in conjunction with a number they've caught on camera."
: 24/10/2006 20:51:33
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