THE company that operates the UK’s cashpoints has offered rewards of up to £25,000 for information relating to cash machine crime.
As revealed in the Leader earlier this week, fraudsters have been targeting cashpoints across Chester, with 15 in the area being hit in the last few months alone.
Cheshire Police are urging shoppers to stay vigilant and look out for any suspicious devices or activity around cashpoints as the gang, which has been identified as being of Eastern European origin, is still operating in the area.
The gang is taking money from people’s accounts by card skimming, cash trapping or card entrapment.
As a result of the criminal activity, cashpoint operator LINK is offering rewards to people who can provide information to police to help them catch the criminal gangs behind the scams.
Graham Mott, senior LINK spokesman said: “We’re urging the public to come forward with any information they may have about cash machine crime, for example card skimming or attacks on cash machines.
“Even something that may sound insignificant could be part of a bigger picture and prove invaluable in convicting someone involved in cash machine crime.”
LINK is working with Crimestoppers to offer rewards for information as well as working closely with different police agencies and departments, including the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), a banking industry-sponsored special police unit that aims to support the police in their fight against crime and help inform the public about how they can protect themselves.
DC Tony Condon, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “There have been an increasing number of attacks on ATMs across Cheshire, where the fraudsters are using all three methods to obtain money from innocent victims. ATM users do not know they are victims until they realise their account balance has reduced more than normal.
“Our intelligence suggests organised crime groups are responsible for the attacks and are of Eastern European origin which has in turn led to more overseas spend on fraudulent use of UK cards and stolen identity.
“We are asking all members of the public to be vigilant when using a cash machine and to be aware of any suspicious activity around cashpoints, which may be an attempt to deploy a device.”
LINK has also made available video footage seized from criminals who had installed a hidden miniature camera at an ATM to film people entering their PIN, highlighting the importance of shielding the keypad when you enter your PIN. It can be viewed at www.link.co.uk or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVq06dLW4kc.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which can be done anonymously.