View Full Version : Electronic cashpoint card scam

14th Aug 2001, 20:55
I was sent this by someone I know and trust, it did happen, but I have removed the name and contact numbers. I'm not sure how the pin number is captured, but obviously it is somehow. I doubt it is an isolated incident and only in one locality.

"Just wanted to warn you about something that happened to me the other day. I was getting some cash out at the cash point outside at a Bank near where I work.

I put my card in and a message came up on the screen saying the machine was temporarily out of order. A lady approached me and told me that this had happened to her the other day and what I needed to do was key my pin number in and then press cancel twice.

I did this and of course no card was returned. I left the machine thinking that it had swallowed my card. But when I returned to the bank the following morning, my card wasn't there. According to the police this method of stealing bankcards is called the Lebanese loop'.

A plastic envelope is made up that fits the hole in the machine perfectly. When you put your card in, the machine knows it is there but cannot read it and therefore the message comes up on the screen.

Once the pin number has been given away and the card left in the machine it is then 'looped' out and the spending starts!

I had 5000 taken from my account before I realised what had happened and cancelled it. The women who approached me at the cash point was late 40's in age, 5.3 in height, dark hair and eyes. The way she was dressed was smart as if she had just left work.

Please pass this information on to all your friends."

14th Aug 2001, 21:06
Thanks for that velvet!!

Will check 6.............

BTW, you can get readers that take all the magnetic info off ATM card and download to PC. Not difficult....

[ 14 August 2001: Message edited by: swashplate ]

14th Aug 2001, 21:11

Velvet, I'm not sure that your friend's story is 100% true.

Take a look at http://www.snopes2.com/inboxer/scams/atmtheft.htm and note that it describes a similar incident. The interesting thing is that it is almost word-for-word the same as the mail your friend sent you (except for the name of the bank being removed, and some paragraph breaks in different places).

But there seems to be no doubt that this really can happen - a number of websites other than this one confirm it. :(

Take care out there


Onan the Clumsy
14th Aug 2001, 21:12
How do you get five grand out of a cash machine? (...without marrying it first :D)

Isn't there an upper limit on fraudulent withdrawals like there is on a credit card?

Wouldn't you be able to see the little plastic envelope?

Who does what strangers tell 'em to do at a cash machine?

Didn't this just happen to some bloke from the Bank of England, except I think someone gobbed him one, swiped the card and did a runner?

Sorry, this sounds like a rude response. It wasn't meant to be. Stuff like this does happen. Anyone got any other good scams like the pigeon drop or the fake bank teller scheme?

14th Aug 2001, 21:22
Onan - the limit for cash withdrawal is a question of whatever arrangement is in place between the card holder and the bank.

There was a time a few years ago when I needed, for specific reasons, to have a high daily withdrawal rate and this was set at $4,000.00 per day. It follows that if someone then had access to your PIN, then this is the amount they could steal every day until you discovered the theft or your account ran out of money.

I think the method Velvet describes is possible but it has been my experience that when you hit the cancel button, the machine spits the card out. I always thought it would retain the card only if you entered the incorrect PIN three times in a row.

14th Aug 2001, 21:37

I have no experience of cash machines except as a user of them. But speaking from a more general point of view as a computer programmer, it is conceivable that this could happen.

If the card reader reported to the software that it "wasn't working", but wasn't able to give the software a reason why it wasn't working, there's no reason for the software to try to eject the card.

According to the URL I posted above, it is only "older" cash machines which can be fooled by this trick. I don't know whether this would be because the hardware in the card-reader is more advanced (and hence able to better determine what the problem is) or because the software has been changed to "try" to eject the card after a problem is found. But either way, it does sound very believable.


Onan the Clumsy
14th Aug 2001, 21:37
Four Dousand Thollars!!?!! How big a stack is that? I mean will it fit in an average sized pocket or do you need to bring along a briefcase or something? I've just never heard of a withdrawal limit like that.

Did you ever max it out on the Friday evening of a Bank Holiday weekend? :D

I used to write the PIN on the back of my card...except it wasn't the correct PIN ;) I figured anyone finding it would obviously try that number, figure he'd mistyped it, try it again and then only have one guess left for the big prize.

Hey, is anyone old enough to remember the original Natwest Ten Pound Service card where the machine always kept your card and they mailed it back to you the nex day? It was a little grey thing with holes punched in it.

14th Aug 2001, 22:04
The more common trick going round (and I'll say now that I don't know anyone it has happened to) is the dropped 10 note scam, concerning which my local Neighbourhood Watch man has recently circulated a police warning.

You're at the cashpoint and a couple takes up position, one slightly to your side and one directly behind. Just after you've keyed in your PIN, the one behind will say, Excuse me, I think you may have dropped this, and point to a tenner on the ground at his feet. As you turn and bend to pick it up, the accomplice slightly to your side will be there ready to take your card as the machine spits it out and when you straighten up, having retrieved the tenner, your cash will duly appear but your card will already have gone. Some people have realised they don't have their card immediately but many others don't until later. (The best time for this scam is as close to midnight as possible - they have more chance of getting two cash withdrawals before the card is stopped.)

Don't be taken in by the tenner on the ground and be ready to retrieve your card - it's probably worth much more.

Squawk 8888
14th Aug 2001, 23:58
If someone pulled that dropped bill number on me, I'd thank him, put my foot on the bill, retrieve my card then grab the cash off the floor :D

Common scam here is debit card skimming, which usually happens at self-serve gas bars. It requires a card reader and a hidden camera. When a customer pays with a bank card, the scammer swipes the card a second time into a reader that captures the data, then the hidden camera records the customer punching in the PIN to finish the transaction. The captured data is then used to produce an new bank card. The best defence: watch the clerk like a hawk. If he swipes your card into two readers, drive off without finishing the transaction. What'll they do, call the cops? :D

Edit- a problem is syntax me for

[ 14 August 2001: Message edited by: Squawk 8888 ]

15th Aug 2001, 01:51
I removed the name of the bank and the town and other identifying content. Maybe, the same crime at two banks or more - I received it in good faith from someone I know and trust.

I hope by passing this on I save someone from losing cash. These scams do happen, variations on a theme.

15th Aug 2001, 04:39
One that we have had at our store lately (i work in a retail clothing store) is where the customer goes to the counter to buy something, u put there card through the EFTPOS machine, u put in the amount that they are paying, they distract you and they then change the amount. if ur not aware or in a hurry they can get away with it but now we take our time and double check everything

15th Aug 2001, 07:06
It's not THAT big a stack, Onan, 80 x $50 notes and you're right - it didn't fit into the average pocket!

I never did get to try it late on a Friday night but it did make the machines throw up their little electronic hands in horror and tell me "Service Not Available."

I did find one machine that NEVER seemed to have a problem and that, surprise, surprise, was located in the casino. This worked to my advantage as I could then tell one of the million or so security guards what I was doing and then get them to walk back to my car with me ... sort of a free personal bodyguard service!

Luca mentioned about "readers" and I've recently found out that there are devices like this around that are small enough to fit into a pocket. These work well in restaurants etc. where you might give your card to the waiter to pay by credit transaction (this requires only a signature, not the use of a PIN), unseen by you, he puts his hand in his pocket containing the "reader" and obtains your PIN that way. He then proceeds to the desk, does your credit transaction and returns with the slip for you to sign. You are non the wiser. The data can now be retrieved from the reader at leisure and the spending begin.

Best thing to do to avoid this kind of fraud is to never let the card out of your sight and watch each step of the transaction carefully.

15th Aug 2001, 12:28
Last month, I had a message left on the answering machine to call a number. I did so, and was told it was the security department of my bank: they asked if I had been in Hong Kong recently and used my debit/cash card. I said 'No', and they told me to cut up the card as there had been fraudulent use. Next day, I ring my bank to check that this wasn't a scam, and it's all true. Got my bank statement last Friday, and there's GBP1800 gone in fraudulent deals on one day in HK. Haven't been there for ten years.....bank said they'd had a lot of it recently, and the money would be credited back.

Don't know how this was done: my cash card is also a Visa card, and the PIN wasn't compromised - it was used as a straight debit card.

Check your bank statement carefully......especially if you go to HK!

15th Aug 2001, 16:32
Credit card fraud can be carried out all too easily without the fraudster even seeing the card or being in the same country as the card holder.

There are programs available that will generate credit card numbers for any bank in the world that you choose.

Naturally I will not name the programs, where they can be found, or how I even know about them ;)

As radeng say's, check your statement very carefully.

[ 15 August 2001: Message edited by: centigrade100 ]

15th Aug 2001, 17:06
There's always a few ATM scams doing the rounds. The best on happened a few years ago. The original machine had a hatch which opend to reveal the money, some bright spark pushed a box into the hatch out of sight. This box collected the money unseen as customers attempted to withdraw it. They would walk away disgruntled. Later the thief would arrive and retrieve the box now full of cash. When it became known every ATM of that bank had a security guard on duty beside it or was shut down until modified.
Very neat scam.
The dropped tenner trick is common too but usually the victim thinks the card was swallowed by the machine and suspects nothing until they either return to the bank for the card or phones up. This can give the thieves a couple of days free rein.

Another is when your card is stolen, if the thief gets your phone number too. They ring you pretending they are the bank that your card was found but for security reasons you must tell them the PIN number over the phone. Don't fall for that one.

Speaking of cash withdrawal limits, $4000 dollars a day would be nice. I had a company charge card for a while, no limit other than the machine limits. I had dreams of going on a mad spending spree, private jets, cars, Vegas. 747 rating. I reckoned it would be month or so before the card company figured out something was w wrong. My employer wouldn't really be effected as it was all charged to my bank account and in any case the company is so big it would be small change to them.
Daydreams aside, it was very useful during the usual end of month cashflow crisis.

That Hong Kong incident it typical too, the same thing happened to my brother in Montreal. You should insist on not letting your card go out of sight in places like restuarants. Particularly when you're overseas as they know you probably won't be back.

15th Aug 2001, 17:17
Speaking of large cash withdrawls there was a case here in Melb a couple of months ago where a guy found his card didnt have an account limit or a withdraw limit and went and proceeded to empty out 3 or 4 ATM's at once. And i mean clean out, there was nothing left in them at all. The bank got suspicious coz there were 3 ATM's in the same area with no cash in them, did a check, found it was this guy doing it so they charged him with stealing and something else and he's now in jail.

I thought that was pretty unfair seeing it was the bank who had the card set up and who failed to check on the limit details but he was the one who got penalised.

Stiff Lil' Fingers
15th Aug 2001, 17:29
I was scammed a month or so ago. Withdrew 50 from a cashpoint in central London at 22:55 one Fri night. Put the cash in my wallet and (stupidly I confess) put the wallet in the back pouch of my backsack and zipped it closed.

Whilst walking across Leicester Sq I was approached by 2 guys in their mid-late 20s who started trying to engage me in conversation. Sounded like they were of Eatern European extraction....I couldn't understand what they were saying and basically told them to sod off and stop hassling me. Walked off but whilst crossing Wardour Street I felt someone bump into me. I looked around and it was one of the same guys. He then started to protest that I had walked into him and had got his nice white jeans muddy. Complete b*llocks and told him as much!

A couple of minutes later I walked into a bar and found my wallet missing. Retraced steps but couldn't find it. Thankfully had enough cash to cover a taxi ride home during which I cancelled all my cards.

A day or so later, I checked my bank statement and found that a withdrawal of 200 (max daily withdrawal) had been made at 23:02, a whole 7 minutes after my original withdrawal. Obviously they must have been looking over my shoulder at the time and noted my PIN. Having reported the cards lost/stolen so quickly meant that when they tried to use the card again at midnight it was thankfully captured.

Reported it all to the police and bank. Have been refunded 150 of the 200, 50 being held back because through my actions I had allowed my PIN to be compromised. Was a bit miffed to not get the whole lot back but I understand where they are coming from.

The biggest downer of the lot is having to replace all your cards and driving licence etc.


17th Aug 2001, 18:02
My brother received a letter from the security dept of his bank last week. His debit card had been used on numerous occasions to withdraw small amounts up to about 70 at a time over a 1.5 week period. Total amount missing? 1100+. Strange how the bank knew about it before it was noticed on a statement.
It couldn't have been him as he was at work in another town at those times.
Place was Leeds, UK. Only way anyone could have got the details was during use at a garage when paying for petrol.
Watch out folks.

Invalid Delete
17th Aug 2001, 18:56
There is a way that once a card and pin number has been obtained you can withdraw many times the daily limit that is set up for that card.
Many years ago now Shanka Ghuha (prolly not the correct spelling, but the TV presenter guy who did a few Holiday programs for the BBC, etc) worked for a program that was aired on C4. It was called "Network Seven". It showed you how to do the whole thing.
Basically, it involved cloning the legitimate card by use of a read/writer. Once you have 20, 30 or as many identical cards as you want you just visit a different cash machine and take out the maximum limit every time.
I think the machines write something onto your card saying that it has been used to the max today and that you can no longer get anymore cash out until the next day. However, if you have an identical card that doesn't have this written on it....then hey presto !!!! Cashus Maximus.
They actually showed you how to make cards and where to buy the readers !
Be very careful. :eek:

17th Aug 2001, 19:02
But the good news is that with all of the UK-issue cards I am aware of, your liability is limited to 50, and even that only applies if you have been careless.

Lots of people are worried about using cards on the Net, but my Egg card covers me against Internet fraud, so there is nothing to lose.

20th Aug 2001, 14:52
Invalid Delete, I think you will find this shows the BBC knows as much about banking as it does about aviation.
The card does not keep track of the amount taken out each day, the central computers at the bank do that. Also the PIN number is not stored on the card but is also checked with the central computers. I have many card readers as part of my work and can assure you there is not much of intrest on them other than identifiying your bank and account number.
The system is not as weak as the media like to make out. The biggest holes are the non tecknical ones such as someone looking over your shoulder at the cash point.
With card copying the common trick is to copy your card data onto a fake card that can then be signed by the fraudster who can then use it to pay for anything in any store taking switch/solo.

[ 20 August 2001: Message edited by: under_exposed ]

EGCC Rwy 24
20th Aug 2001, 22:50
Used to work in a bank - longer ago than I care to remember.

Onan - yes I remember. I also remember the Midland ones which you used ten times before it was kept --- a whole 100 - those were the days.

Squawk - I agree, beware of the two scans, but bear in mind there are some companies out there (CardClear is one I think) who provide secondary scanners linked to some kind of satellite updated hot card list - supposedly better than those provided by the banks machines. So, two scans is not always bad. One day, we will get to the stage where all transactions are positively authorised (rather than just checked against a stop list) - thats why many places don't take Electron and Solo cards, as these can only be used where they are checked every time.

Under Exposed/Invalid Delete - you are both right! Back then, limits etc were on the card. I remember the TV programme, and it was just as the UK banks were getting their act together and authorising all withdrawals - a trend started by the Link network.

Hope that helps.......

21st Aug 2001, 16:23
Last year in Sydney there was a huge scam involving waiters at a city restaurant double scanning cards - once for the bill, once for a company who was making duplicates of the card in foreign climes. The credit card companies immediately withdrew their services from the restaurant, and the it's name was publicised. I was surprised to find it was one I went to regularly (darn good restaurant, fortunately I'd only ever paid cash there).

When I went there the next time they had a sign saying that they were unable to provide credit card services due to "technical difficulties". :rolleyes:

23rd Aug 2001, 17:33
the scam around here was that they would look over your shoulder when you did an eftpos transaction in a crowded bar or something like that.
then would steal your wallet
they would do it at night, take out the max allowed amount and then take out the max again just after midnight. :mad: