Apr 302014

Police ScotlandPolice Scotland officers in Midlothian and East Lothian are urging members of the public to be wary of criminals targeting bank ATMs in the area.

The warning comes after the bank details of several customers were obtained and money unlawfully taken from accounts during incidents last week.

One person saw the message “your card is being retained” while using the Co-Operative ATM on Clayknowes Road in Musselburgh on Wednesday 23rd April, and then soon after had £300 withdrawn from their account without their knowledge.

A ‘card-skimming’ device was discovered on the same day at a Co-Operative ATM in High Street in Bonnyrigg. Also on Wednesday, a ‘cash trap’ device – which is fitted to the cash dispensing slot and stops money from being delivered to the customer – was believed to have been fitted to the ATM at Tesco, Olivebank Road in Musselburgh.

A ‘cash-trap’ was recovered on Thursday 24th April on the Co-operative ATM on Tranent High Street, while a recording device was found stuck to the surface of the Co-operative ATM on Links Road, Port Seton, on Saturday 26th April.

Detective Sergeant Keith Mackay said:

Police in Midlothian and East Lothian are working hard to catch those responsible for targeting ATM’s and attempting to steal money from bank customers. We are advising members of the public to remain extra vigilant when withdrawing money.

The criminals have been using a number of different devices on ATM machines in the area. Some, such as ‘card skimmers’, capture the account details from the customer’s cards, and a second device, which is fitted with a miniature camera, records the keystrokes on the ATM’s keypad.. Both devices are made to look like they belong to the ATM so customers are urged to take extra care.

Once the card details are obtained, the criminals make cloned cards and, along with the Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) they have captured, use them to withdraw cash from the victim’s account from any ATM.

This can continue until the customer or bank notices some unusual withdrawals, which could result in hundreds of pounds being stolen.

Other devices are being used to ‘trap cash’ in the dispensing slot, making the customer believe the machine is faulty. This can also put the machine out of service. The criminal then removes the trap with the customer’s cash.

Police Scotland is keen to keep these type of crimes to an absolute minimum, and the Safer Communities department at Dalkeith police Station, has today issued the following advice:

These are steps you can take to lessen the possibility of becoming a victim.

  • Check the card reader before inserting your card. If you are suspicious, then do not use it and contact the bank or police immediately.
  • Check for additions to the ATM that look out of place, such as a leaflet holder which could also contain a hidden camera.  Do not attempt to remove any suspicious device, as the criminals are likely to be nearby and watching the machine.
  • Always cover your hand fully as you enter your PIN by using your other hand or a purse or wallet as a shield.
  • Also be aware of your surroundings at all times – is someone standing behind you watching you as you use the ATM? If you are not comfortable then stop the transaction and inform the bank, security staff or police.
  • Finally, check your account balance regularly and inform your bank immediately if your account shows any transactions you did not make.

Enquiries are ongoing into these incidents. Anyone with information can contact Police Scotland on 101 or, alternatively, the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.