Some of the UK’s largest high street banks have issued an urgent warning to anyone who withdraws ATMs from an ATM. The scam targets ATMs that can withdraw and deposit money, which are often found outside of bank branches on the main street.
Scammers put a printout next to the hole in the wall and warn customers that the deposit function is not working. Next, fit plastic in front of the drawer used for removal – so that the bills don’t stick out. When the customer inserts his card into the machine, enters his PIN and then selects the amount of money to be withdrawn, he hears the buzzing in the ATM, but nothing is displayed.
With the plastic sign that blocks the withdrawals, customers look in the other drawer – the one for deposits (despite the self-made sign next to the ATM). If nothing is displayed, customers will (incorrectly) assume that the ATM is out of money, out of order, or something went wrong with their account.
As soon as the customer leaves the ATM, the criminal approaches the machine, opens the plastic cover and scoops up the wrinkled banknotes hidden behind it. It is only when the customer checks their bank statement that they realize that the ATM is working as expected – and that someone else has gotten away with the money they needed.
The costly scam was highlighted on TikTok, with the video quickly receiving thousands of views.
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While Hasan Mahmood’s TikTok clip found the scam in action outside a Nationwide Building Society branch. The bank has urgent customers to exercise caution when using ATMs. And a number of other banks followed suit with similar warnings. While the TikTok video focused on Nationwide, these scams are possible at almost every major high street bank.
Speaking to The Mirror after the viral hit, a Nationwide Building Society spokesman said, “The type of incident highlighted in the video, although rare, can happen anywhere, anytime at ATMs. Nationwide has taken a number of steps to combat this type of fraud. However, as the video also shows, it is important that people remain vigilant when using ATMs and look for suspicious devices, especially when they are outside. “
Santander is another lender who urged customers to exercise caution before entering their debit card or PIN.
“Using an ATM is easy, convenient and almost always safe. But sometimes criminals manipulate ATMs to steal your card information, PIN or cash, ”said a spokesman for the bank. “Always be vigilant when using an ATM – look out for signs that may have been tampered with or damaged, but also be sure to cover your PIN and hang around ‘shoulder surfers’.”
Barclays followed with a similar warning.
Meanwhile, industry association UK Finance has warned that anyone who uses an ATM – and finds that their money is not spending as planned – must contact the ATM provider or lender immediately. Ideally, this should happen while you are still standing by the cash register.
“ATMs are generally very safe, with millions of transactions per day, but it’s still important to take some simple steps when withdrawing money,” a statement said. “If you see anything suspicious or unusual about an ATM, such as tampering, do not use it and if possible, alert nearby people or call the police. If no cash comes out or your card is stuck, report it to yours immediately Bank or building society, ideally by calling while you are still standing in front of the machine. “