Beware of Crooks Disabling ATM Machines to Get Your Card–Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
There is more than one version of this being circulated.
One is in narrative form from a person who said she was scammed at an ATM machine. She was trying to use the machine, but got a message that it was out of order. A woman nearby told her the same thing had happened to her and gave her instructions on how to solve the problem, which included keying in her PIN number a couple of times. Her card was not returned and she figured it was stuck in the machine. What had actually happened, however, was that a thief had placed what is called a “Lebanese Loop” into the machine, a plastic sleeve that temporarily disabled the machine and captured her card. After the woman bystander took note of the card user’s PIN number, she later retrieved the card from the machine and used it to withdraw cash.
Another version is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation with images from a hidden camera showing a crook in action at an ATM and using this methodology to steal a customer’s ATM card.
This type of ATM card fraud is true although the term “Lebanese Loop” is not the most common way of referring to it.
TruthOrFiction.com has found substantiation of this scam from Credit Union Executive Magazine, the television program “20-20,” and a law enforcement agency.
The technique is to disable the ATM machine, trick a card user into entering a PIN number and in a way that can be either observed or detected, then the thieves retrieve the card and use it.
The version of the eRumor circulating with the PowerPoint presentation documents an actual thief at work. It was captured by a surveillance camera. The ATM card used in the pictorial demonstration indicates that it is from the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago but another version of the PowerPoint presentation uses the logo of Barclay’s bank. One of the original postings of the series was on an Italian website.
It is only one of many scams involving ATM machines. One of the more elaborate has involved crooks actually putting a fake front on ATM machines that looks like the real thing and collects card numbers and PIN numbers.
Police warn that the most common problem at automated bank machines is crooks who either hover over users’ shoulders to get their PIN numbers or who are watching from afar with scopes and then look for an opportunity to steal the card.