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18 May 2011, 10:15
Police are warning anyone using cash points in Portsmouth to be vigilant following an ATM scam in the area.
Machines in the Copnor, North End, Cosham and Southsea areas of Portsmouth have recently been targeted by unknown individuals, who have been using a device to take money from account holders attempting to withdraw cash.
DC Pete Bambury from Fratton CID explained: “This scam is unfortunately very simple and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it can be effective.
“An individual will go up to the cash point and attach a grey metal strip to the cash dispenser. On the back of this piece of metal are several adhesive strips, which attach the metal to the dispenser.
“When a customer then goes to withdraw cash, they will hear the dispenser moving but no cash comes out. It would appear that the dispenser has a fault and therefore no cash is withdrawn from the customer’s account, but in reality the withdrawn cash has been
‘dispensed’ straight onto the adhesive strip of the metal cover. The customer will then walk away and try another cash point.
“Soon afterwards, the offender(s) will approach and remove the metal strip from the cash point, taking with them the customer’s missing money.”
Ten incidents of this nature have been reported since April 15 in the Fratton area, however a great deal more may have taken place as people are unaware that they have been scammed.
Cash points targeted include Barclays Bank in North End, Co Operative shops and Sindon Street Post Office.
DC Bambury added: “If you are intending to use a cash point, I urge you to check the unit thoroughly, paying special attention to the dispenser itself. If it appears to have an unusual looking metal strip, do not use the cash point and inform both the bank and the police. Under no circumstances should you attempt to remove the device yourself.
“If you attempted to use a cash point in the area recently and no cash came out, I would urge you to check your bank statement. This will confirm whether cash was withdrawn or not, and if it was withdrawn, I advise that you inform your bank and the police immediately.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact DC Bambury at Fratton police station on 101. Alternatively you can contact the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111. If it is an emergency, please dial 999.