Warning over new cashpoint 'distraction' scam that could drain shoppers’ accounts before Christmas

24 December 2019, 08:14 | Updated: 24 December 2019, 08:18

A new scam is sweeping the country
A new scam is sweeping the country. Picture: Getty Images

Police are warning of new scam which could clear out your bank account.

Christmas is a very expensive time of year, with many families spending hundreds of pounds on their loved ones. 

But it could get even more costly for many, as police are now warning of a new cashpoint scam, which could see many people lose their money just before the big day. 

As reported by the Express, thieves are using a technique in which they approach a cashpoint where they see neighbouring ATMs in use. 

The criminals then glance at the PIN number, before dropping money and tapping the victim on the arm to distract them.

Victims could have hundreds of pounds stolen
Victims could have hundreds of pounds stolen. Picture: Getty Images

While pretending to hand over the cash, claiming the cashpoint is faulty, an accomplice slips in quietly behind, cancels the transaction, and grabs the bank card before making a run for it.

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The victim is then left thinking their bank card has been swallowed by the broken machine, when in actual fact the con artists have pinched it and are free to go on a spending spree. 

After the reports, the Metropolitan Police has said people need to be vigilant when they are using their PIN at any cash point. 

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“We know it’s not always easy, but try to be aware of anyone near you when you’re at an ATM,” a spokesperson said. 

“Being aware of your surroundings and not being distracted makes it harder for people to take advantage and less likely that they’ll try to.

“Thieves will watch as you key in your PIN or distract you while you’re withdrawing cash. Be vigilant.

“Cover your PIN and keep an eye on your card at all times. If someone taps you on the shoulder or tries to speak to you, just ignore them.

"When you've left the ATM, put your card away immediately.

They also advise people to be careful with contactless cards, and suggest getting a card holder to prevent card details being inadvertently read.

Natwest also warned users to keep their PINs covered at all times when getting cash out. 

"Always carefully cover your PIN from hidden cameras or prying eyes whenever you use your card,” they said. 

“Do not keep a written record of your PIN. Never tell anyone else your PIN or allow anyone to use your card. Don’t choose a PIN that someone could easily guess, like your date of birth.

“Store the 24 hour emergency contact number for all of your cards in your mobile phone or anywhere that’s easy to access. If your card is not returned to you by an ATM after use, call your card issuer immediately – if possible whilst at, or near, the machine.”