Hi-tech thieves use cash machine scam
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Source & Copyright: www.portsmouth.co.uk/crime/Hitech-thieves-use-cash-machine.5304951.jp

Hi-tech thieves use cash machine scam

27 May 2009
By Gareth Bethell

Criminals are using a high-tech scam to drain people's bank accounts.
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 scam.

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 police know.'

Anyone with information should call the police on 08450 45 45 45 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


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