This is how easy it is to be a victim of ATM fraud

Two people scam a victim at a cash machine

Barclays has released a video showing a typical, yet complex, ATM scam that leaves people completely in the dark about the fact that they have just been scammed.

It only takes a second. That’s the main takeaway from Barclay’s new ‘Be Fraud Smart’ video, which shows just how easy it is for someone to become a victim of cash machine fraud.

two people are taking money from cash machines and another person queues behind them

In the video, a customer taking cash out of an ATM is distracted momentarily by the person next-in-line behind him, who drops some items onto the floor. The customer turns around to help pick up the things and then turns back to collect his cash and retrieve his card.

But now he’s a victim of fraud. The person next-in-line is actually the distractor in a two-person team. Whilst she distracts the victim, the person standing at the second cash machine swipes the victim’s card that’s coming out of the cash machine and replaces it with a fake card. When the victim turns around he will only see what he expects to see – a card coming out of the ATM and the cash waiting for him. He then leaves, whilst the card-swapper doubles back and uses the victim’s card to withdraw cash. The PIN was identified earlier by the distractor, who can see what the victim types into the keypad.

Barclays commented on the video:

“We’ve had a media campaign across all of our different channels, direct mails, in-branch posters and ATMs, so it actually just felt like a really natural step to put our weight behind this campaign.”

The bank also listed some tips people should follow to minimise the risk of being a victim of cash machine fraud:

  1. Don’t be distracted at cash machines
  2. Cover your PIN whenever taking money out or paying
  3. Ignore people who try to speak to you as you’re taking money out
  4. Do not use the cash machine if you think it, or people around it, look suspicious
  5. Alert your bank immediately if you think your card, PIN or sensitive data has been compromised


Cash machine fraud rising

The video comes at a time when ATM fraud is rising. According to Financial Fraud Action, there was a 20% increase in card fraud at UK cash machines to £32.7 million.

chart showing amount of fraud at cash machines between 2006 and 2015

Source: Financial Fraud Action

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