Thieves raid bank account after tampering with Hampstead cash machine

A woman had money stolen from her bank account after using an ATM in Hampstead High Street

A woman had money stolen from her bank account after using an ATM in Hampstead High Street - Credit: Archant

Police have warned people in Hampstead to beware after a victim had her bank account raided by fraudsters who had tampered with a cashpoint machine.

The woman warned how she fell victim to the scammers when she withdrew cash from the National Westminster Bank on Hampstead High Street.

She said: “It seemed a bit gritty as I put my card in, but thought the machine was just faulty and managed to force it in. I pinned in my code and then the card appeared to be stuck and would not come out.”

Believing her card had been retained, the woman moved away from the machine and called her bank to cancel the card.

“While I was getting through to the bank, they (the fraudsters) managed to get hold of my card and use three other machines on the high street to withdraw money,” she said on the I Love Hampstead Facebook page.

Police have warned that the scammers are inserting a device known as a Lebanese Loop, into the ATMs.

It consists of a strip/sleeve of metal or plastic and when the ATM tries to eject the card, a ‘lip’ at the end of the loop prevents the card from being ejected.

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One of the fraudsters will have noted down the victim’s PIN. The victim then walks away assuming their card has been retained - leaving the scammers free to recover it and withdraw cash.

PC Phil Upton, from West Midlands police where the scam is common, said: “We are urging ATM users to take extra care when withdrawing cash by shielding the keypad while they enter their PIN and to be aware of anyone acting suspiciously around them.”

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