Police warning over ATM skimming devices in Newtownabbey

Police issued this photo of a skimming device
Police issued this photo of a skimming device

Police have warned ATM users to be vigilant after they received a report of a skimming devices in the Newtownabbey area.

Posting on Facebook, PSNI Newtownabbey stressed the importance of checking bank machines for anything unusual or suspicious.

"There has been a report of a skimming device having been found on a Danske Bank ATM on May 4 2017 at the Centra shop in Central Park Newtownabbey," the post reads. "It is believed to be connected to multiple ATM frauds throughout the province involving Danske Bank ATMs and also Tesco stores ATMs."

The police update also mentioned 'cash traps' in the Carrickfergus, Belfast and Hollywood areas.

They added: "ATM skimming is like identity theft for debit cards: Thieves use hidden electronics to steal the personal information stored on your card and record your PIN number to access all that hard-earned cash in your account.

"The typical ATM skimmer is a device smaller than a deck of cards that fits over the existing card reader. Most of the time, the attackers will also place a hidden camera somewhere in the vicinity with a view of the number pad in order to record personal-identification-numbers, or PINs. The camera may be in the card reader, mounted at the top of the ATM, or even just to the side inside a plastic case holding brochures.

"Some criminals may install a fake PIN pad over the actual keyboard to capture the PIN directly, bypassing the need for a camera."

The police added: "If you notice anything strange about an ATM don’t insert your card phone police on 101 and report the incident straight away so we can go out and examine the ATM under controlled conditions."

Preventative advice from PSNI

When you approach an ATM, check for some obvious signs of tampering at the top of the ATM, near the speakers, the side of the screen, the card reader itself, and the keyboard.

If you’re at the bank, it’s a good idea to quickly take a look at the ATM next to yours and compare them both.

Even if you can’t see any visual differences, push at everything. ATMs are solidly constructed and generally don’t have any jiggling or loose parts.

Wiggling the card as you enter it in the slot won’t interfere with your transaction, but will foil the skimmer.

Whenever you enter your debit card’s PIN, just assume there is someone looking so cover the pad with your free hand.