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Nationwide warns over 'cash trapping' ATM scams

'Cash trapping' and 'shoulder surfing' are methods used by fraudsters to steal money. Photo: Getty Images
'Cash trapping' and 'shoulder surfing' are methods used by fraudsters to steal money. Photo: Getty Images

Nationwide Building Society (NBS.L) has warned customers to be vigilant when using ATMs to stop them from falling victim to ‘cash trapping’.

ATM cash trapping is a popular method used by criminals whereby they physically insert a device called a glue trap inside the machine, which stops the cash being dispensed.

In a tweet, Nationwide said that there are certain things consumers can do before using an ATM in order to ensure they do not fall victim to such practices.

They must ensure the cash slit is clear and if there is anything in it or covering it up, the ATM should not be used and customers should let the bank know. They should also alert the bank if there is no flashing green or blue light when the ATM dispenses money.

“Although rare, cash trapping can happen to ATMs anywhere at any time,” a Nationwide spokesperson said.

“Nationwide has a range of measures in place to try and combat these types of scams. However, it is important that people remain vigilant and check for anything suspicious when using ATMs, especially those located outside.”

The spokesperson said if anything suspicious or unusual is spotted at an ATM – “stop, don’t use it and report it immediately.”

Read more: 'Cashback at till' to be rolled out to more than 2,000 shops

It added that there are many other ways fraudsters try to steal cards and details at ATMs. One is 'shoulder surfing' - when someone watches a customer entering their PIN at an ATM or in a shop, before stealing their card. They often use distraction techniques or pickpocketing.

Skimming – using a device and camera attached to an ATM – is another method. This records the details from the magnetic stripe of a card and PIN. Fraudsters then create a fake card with these details and use it to make cash withdrawals and purchases.

Card trapping devices are also being used – they look like part of the ATM and capture and keep the card. Criminals may try to trick customers into re-entering their PIN while they watch so they have the information when they retrieve the card later.

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