Gang scams €30,000 from ATM users
A GANG has managed to steal €30,000 from ATM users in a matter days.
Gardai are warning that the simple scam is catching out vulnerable bank users, particularly elderly people.
The Herald understands that an Eastern Europe gang is behind the operation which involves a combination of 'shoulder surfing' and placing a device on the ATM.
At least six people have had their bank accounts emptied in the past week alone.
The criminals attach a device to the bank machine which stops the customer's card from coming back out after their transaction is complete.
Then an apparently friendly person offers to help, noting that the same thing had happened to them before.
However, while they pretend to retrieve the card, in fact they hand the person back a similar card but which has been stolen from someone else.
Una Dillon, of the Irish Payment Services Organisation, warned: "Because the customer has money on them, they are probably not going to use their card again for a while.
"In the meantime, the criminal takes the genuine card out of the ATM, they've seen the customer key in their PIN code, and then they withdraw cash from that customer's account."
Ms Dillon said at least six incidents, involving withdrawals of up to €30,000, have been confirmed over the past few days, but the true figure could be much higher.
The criminals have been targeting older customers, mostly in Dublin. In some cases, they are using bank branch kiosks to transfer money to foreign accounts. It is now feared they will spread the operation outside of Dublin.
In a recent scam, a member of the gang would drop a €5 note on the ground and asked the customer if they owned it. While the customer was distracted the PIN and card details were obtained by the fraudster.