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thieves use cash machine scam
27 May 2009
By Gareth Bethell
Criminals are using a high-tech scam to drain people's bank
Police say they are investigating five incidents where cash
machines in Portsmouth have been tampered with.
Thieves have used what is known as a 'Lebanese loop', a device
which traps a bank card in the ATM while a small hidden camera
records the person entering their PIN.
Police are now investigating how much cash has been taken in the
Acting Sergeant Sam Phillips, from the Hilsea Safer
Neighbourhood team, said: 'We are warning people to remain
vigilant and if they have any information to come forward.
'It's quite high-tech. It's possible other incidents haven't
been reported because people don't always notice straight away.
'We are working with the banks and still trying to gather the
information as to how much has been stolen.'
The first incident took place at Barclays in London Road, North
End, on May 2, when someone was using the cash machine and a
tiny camera fell down from where it had been hidden.
Then at the same branch on Wednesday, May 20 a woman tried to
withdraw money but her card was trapped. The next day, Thursday
May 21, a loop was used twice at Barclays in Cosham High Street.
The first time – at midday – a woman noticed the machine had
been tampered with and flagged down a passing police officer who
retrieved the loop and hidden camera.
But just eight hours later at the same bank another woman lost
her card in the scam.
The last reported incident happened on Friday, May 22, at Lloyds
TSB in Cosham High Street.
A woman using an ATM at 1pm noticed something unusual about the
machine and called the police who found a loop device. No
arrests have been made.
Acting Sgt Phillips said: 'The advice from us is if you see
anything suspicious about a cash machine or that you don't think
should be there don't use it, let the bank know and let the
Anyone with information should call the police on 08450 45 45 45
or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
THE LEBANESE LOOP
A Lebanese loop is a device used to commit fraud and identity
theft using cash machines.
Its name comes from its regular use amongst Lebanese financial
criminals but it is now widespread.
A strip of metal or plastic is inserted into the cash machine's
card slot and when the victim puts their card in, the loop
prevents the card being drawn into the machine, making the user
think the machine has retained their card.
The thief will obtain the victim's PIN either by watching them
enter it or attaching a small camera to the machine to record
them entering it