Don’t be card-scammed at your ATM this Christmas

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Falkirk shoppers are being warned against the latest ATM scams hitting high streets across Scotland this Christmas.

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), based in Linlithgow, has urged extra vigilance when withdrawing cash over one of the busiest periods of the year.

More than £11 billion is expected to be withdrawn by the UK public this winter, and fraudsters will be looking to target unsuspecting shoppers by tampering with ATMs.

Mark Anderson, Business Resilience Adviser, said: “Christmas and New Years are opportunistic times for criminals – almost every one of us will go to take out cash from an ATM at some point over the festive period.

“Criminals and scammers can manipulate ATMs in the most discreet ways – you might not even notice any difference or danger. “Alongside physically tampering with ATMs, another tactic scammers use is to distract shoppers mid-transaction.

“It really helps to use ATMs in daylight only, if at all possible.

“It’s also important to have your card ready, cover your pin with your hand, and make sure nobody is around looking over your shoulder.

“If you’re ever unsure about the safety of an ATM, it’s important to leave the machine alone and report it to Police Scotland on 101.”

SBRC says there are four tell-tale signs that an ATM may have been affected:

Hidden cameras: shield the keypad when entering a PIN number as pinhole cameras can be placed anywhere on the machine.

Skimming devices: bulky covers might be evidence of a skimming device which records card details.

If there is a bulky cover over the card slot, and if it becomes loose or falls off, the ATM should not be used.

False fronts: if the PIN pad feels spongy or if the frontage moves when shaken, this may be a sign that it is fake.

To draw more victims to a false ATM, criminals may also place paper, rather than electronic, “out of order” signs on working ATMs to force them to find their rigged alternative.

Distractions: if a card becomes stuck in a machine, don’t fall into the trap of becoming distracted.

Contact the card provider to cancel the card immediately.

SBRC’s full guide about ATM fraud is available at https://www.sbrcentre.co.uk/news/2019/december/atm-fraud-how-to-tell-if-a-cashpoint-has-been-tampered-with/