Shoppers warned of ATM crime during last minute Christmas shopping

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For those preparing to do last minute Christmas shopping today, shoppers are being urged to stay alert when taking out cash at ATMs.

New data from Santander has predicted last minute shpping could mean “rich pickings for criminals” according to Santander.

In the last couple of years around £10 million has been withdrawn in one hour alone in the weekend before Christmas Day, with shoppers paying for for festive drinks and shopping at markets with cash.

Santander is now offering advice for those who taking to the shops this weekend.

Matt Hall, Head of Banking and Unsecured Credit at Santander said, “It’s tempting to splash the cash in the run up to Christmas, especially if you are buying things at the last minute.

“From mobile banking to overdraft alerts and our Spendlytics app, we offer many ways to help customers keep an eye on their money and expenditure.

“And remember, if you’re planning a last minute dash to the cash point, keep your money and details safe. Busy cash points can mean rich pickings for criminals.”

Santander offer the following advice for staying safe and secure at an ATM this Christmas:

When withdrawing money at an ATM look out for any signs that the machine has been tampered with.

Look out for machines with anti-fraud features. Some machines are fitted with anti-skimming devices (this is usually a green beak that sticks out) or alternatively use a Contactless ATM because the card can’t be skimmed or retained – over 90% of Santander’s cashpoints now offer contactless withdrawals. And look out for PIN pads with hand covers to protect your number from onlookers.

If your card gets stuck in the cashpoint, phone your bank immediately. While it may be a simple malfunction, it could be that a device has been used to make your card stick so it can be retrieved by fraudsters later.

Distraction is a common way for fraudsters to commit ATM fraud. Be very wary of anybody who bumps into you, asks you a question, offers to help while you are using the cashpoint. They could be doing this to take your focus away from your card or your cash so they can take it while you’re not looking. Often they will also have watched while you enter your pin number so have all they need to fraudulently use your card.

Memorise your PIN. If you have it written down it can be captured by a camera, or a bystander and then used if they manage to get hold of your card or details from it.

Always shield the number pad when entering your pin, this will generally make it impossible for hidden cameras or bystanders to see it. Some machines are fitted with a keyboard cover to provide this protection.

Once you’ve completed a transaction at the cash machine, make sure you put your money and card away safely straight away. And if you have a receipt take it with you and destroy it carefully once you have finished with it.