Local ATM users warned to be alert – ATMs targeted

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Police in Woking are warning local people take extra care when using ATM cash machines. If you see anything unusual or anyone acting suspiciously around an ATM or if your card is retained by the machine, please report it to the police straight away. If your card is not returned, Police advice is to stay at the scene and wait for local officers; also to inform your bank to prevent cash being stolen.

Thieves have used a “Lebanese Loop” to steal cards and then withdraw cash: From outside the Co-op in the High Street, Horsell on Thursday 23rd December when a card was retained in a cash machine; the card was ejected by thieves about ten minutes later and was used to withdraw £250 but a further attempt to use the card in London was unsuccessful. Two further incidents happened at the cash point outside the Co-Op store in St John’s Road on the same day. A card was retained and the victim had £200 taken from his account. A black aluminium box, described as being the size of a cigarette packet, was seen on the left hand side of the machine. A further report of suspicious activity at the same machine was been received on Wednesday, 29 December when a man pulled a device off the ATM after his card was taken.

Anyone who may have seen people hanging around the machines in Horsell and St John’s is asked to call Surrey Police on 0845 1252222, quoting reference WK/10/9258 or call Crimestoppers anonymously and free of charge on 0800 555 111

The term “Lebanese loop” is applied to devices that are used to retain the user’s card then use it fraudulently. In their simplest form, Lebanese loops consist of a strip or sleeve of metal or plastic that is inserted into the ATM’s card slot. When the victim inserts their card, the loop prevents the card being drawn into the machine, fooling the user into believing the machine has malfunctioned or retained their card. In a typical scam, the perpetrator will obtain the victim’s PIN either by watching them enter it the first time or by approaching the victim under the pretence of offering help and suggesting they re-enter their PIN (and again, watching them do so). uses it, along with their PIN, to withdraw cash from the victim’s account. REMEMBER Please take extra care at other ATMs around the area as these devices may also be placed at other locations.

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Andy is a business systems and operations consultant for The Business Delicatessen and has helped the KRA over several years. He is former editor of the magazine and also runs Fat Crow Design.

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