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  1. ITV Report

Cash machine crime: How to protect yourself

Gangs install 'tracking devices' to steal the details of a cash card from the magnetic strip Photo: ITV 1/ Wild Pictures

Police are warning the public to be extra vigilant against criminal gangs who steal millions from cash machines.

An ITV documentary Fraud Squad went undercover with police to see how they are tackling this growing problem. The gangs use an array of sophisticated methods to defraud the unsuspecting public.

So how can you protect yourself? Here's the Police's top tips:

  • Put your money and card away before leaving the machine.
  • Always carefully destroy or shred your cash machine receipt, mini statement or balance enquiry.
  • If you notice anything unusual about the machine or there are signs of tampering, do not use the machine and report it to the bank or police as soon as possible.
  • ALWAYS shield your PIN carefully with your free hand. There may be cameras hidden by criminals directly above the PIN pad.
  • Don't get distracted. Be particularly cautious if 'well meaning' strangers try to distract you or offer to help you.
  • Criminals sometimes fit devices to cash machines that trap your card. If your card is retained by the machine, report the loss to your card company immediately. Make sure you have the 24-hour contact number stored in your mobile phone
Gangs insert hidden cameras and information stealing devices into ATM machines. Credit: ITV 1/ Wild Pictures

Theft from unsuspecting cash machine users is worth over £2 million a month according to the Police.

The criminals constantly try and evolve their technology to beat the technology the banks put in place. It’s a constant battle to try and work out where the criminal is going next

– DCI Paul Barnard, Head of Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit

Gangs use their intricate smuggling networks to move millions quickly out of the UK, and in most cases, into Romania.

Cash stolen from ATM machines in the UK often ends up in Romania. Credit: ITV 1/ Wild Pictures/ Metropolitan police.

The fact is 92 percent of all ATM fraud we see in this country is committed by Romanian nationals. Very, very tight communities, very tight gangs.

– DCI Paul Barnard

For more information and tips on how to use your card safely visit: