People using cash machines this summer are being urged to be extra vigilant, as police fear a sharp rise in ATM crime during the Olympics.
ATM crime is on the rise in Britain, with criminals using advanced technology to obtain cardholders’ bank details.
Millions of pounds are stolen from customers every single month, and police in London expect to see a sharp rise during the Olympic Games this summer.
“The criminals constantly try and evolve their technology to beat the technology the banks put in place. It’s a constant battle to try and work out where the criminal is going next,” said DCI Paul Barnard, head of The Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit.
Improved security by banks has meant there has been a significant reduction in cash machine fraud during the past year. Cash machine fraud fell by 12% to £29.3 million last year from £33.2 million in 2010.
But it is still an ongoing problem, and officers are warning that there could be as many as 1,000 cash-point gangs still operating in the UK.
The majority of cash machine fraud is committed by one nationality, which has something of a monopoly on the trade.
“The fact is 92% of all ATM fraud we see in this country is committed by Romanian nationals. Very, very tight communities, very tight gangs,” added DCI Barnard.
The gangs use a number of different techniques to obtain the bank details of cardholders, from hidden cameras recording a PIN to even constructing entire ATM fascias.
“Although cash card fraud has decreased in the past year, it is still an issue that cardholders need to be aware of,” said a spokesman for Financial Fraud Action UK.
“If they think a card machine has been tampered with, they should immediately end the transaction and use an alternative ATM.”
The most common type of cash machine fraud is skimming, whereby a device is fitted to the machine which reads a customer’s bank details. The details are put on another card, and the thieves use the recording of the PIN to withdraw money.
“If you spot any transactions you didn’t make, contact your card issuer immediately,” added the Financial Fraud Action UK spokesman.
“If you are the innocent victim of card fraud you have legal protection and should not suffer any financial loss.”
A good way to protect yourself from fraud is by using a prepaid card. These are not tied to a bank account and have a specified amount on them, so you won’t see your account drained should it be stolen.