ATM and cash machine fraud

Learn how to protect yourself from ATM and cash machine fraud

What is ATM fraud and what are the criminals doing?

Cash machine or ATM fraud is when fraudsters or criminals use cash machines to take data or even the debit or credit cards themselves to use for fraudulent transactions.


Card skimming is when a criminal fits a small device in the card slot of the ATM.

This little gadget then captures the data from the magnetic strip on the back of a bank card.

They may also conceal a camera to film the PIN number.

The fraudster then puts the stolen bank card data onto the magnetic strip of another card, such as a mobile top up card, which is then used to make cash withdrawals, often overseas. 

Card trapping

Is when a device fitted to the card slot stops your card being returned to you.

Once you’ve left the machine, the fraudster prises the device off, taking your card.  

What banks do to protect you from ATM fraud

Banks and cash machine operators have invested heavily in an effort to combat these types of crimes. Security devices, like improved card slots, are fitted to cash machines to prevent both skimming and card tapping.

Tips to help avoid ATM fraud

  1. 1

    Always carefully cover your PIN from hidden cameras or prying eyes whenever you use your card

  2. 2

    Do not keep a written record of your PIN

  3. 3

    Never tell anyone else your PIN or allow anyone to use your card

  4. 4

    Don’t choose a PIN that someone could easily guess, like your date of birth

  5. 5

    Store the 24 hour emergency contact number for all of your cards in your mobile phone or anywhere that’s easy to access

  6. 6

    If your card is not returned to you by an ATM after use, call your card issuer immediately – if possible whilst at, or near, the machine

  7. 7

    If you happen to notice anything unusual or suspicious about an ATM, do not use it and report it to the bank or cash machine operator

  8. 8

    Check your statements regularly – if you spot anything suspicious, report it to your bank straight away

  9. 9

    When using an ATM, make sure that look out for people close by who may be trying to distract you in order to steal your card or pin

Avoiding fraud and what to do if you've been a victim

If you’re unlucky enough to be a victim, you are protected and you will get any money lost back from your bank, providing that you have adhered to the conditions of use.

If you're worried about becoming a victim of fraud, you can learn more with the help of our guides, or if you think you may have been a victim of fraud, please report it straight away.

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