There are several ways that fraudsters can get hold of your pin code – using tricks such as door skimmers and the exotic-sounding Lebanese loop. So what do you need to look out for?
This is when someone looks over your shoulder and effectively ‘steals’ your pin code when you type it into the cash machine. After you have completed the transaction, they steal your card and use it. It’s simple, but devastating for your bank account. To protect yourself, just make sure you cover the key pad when you enter your pin.
Skimming is where a device is connected to the cash card to get the electronic details from your magnetic strip.
An alternative to this is known as the ‘Lebanese loop’, a thin strip or sleeve wedged into the card slot that, when you put your card in, will cause the ATM to apparently swallow it. The thieves then retrieve the card after you’ve given up trying to get it back.
They then create a clone of your card, which is then often used overseas in countries where chip and pin are not used.
The way to combat this type of fraud is vigilance – Look out for anything unusual on the cash machine such as an extra feature around where you put your cash card in. If you are at all suspicious of the machine, don’t use it. And if your card does get caught in a Lebanese loop, cancel it immediately.
We’re all used to the concept that big transactions will be taken out of our accounts that we will quickly notice. But the sneaky way is to take small, reasonable-looking amounts from shops that you may visit (like supermarkets or petrol stations) or unusual but still small international payments.
The Money Advice Service recommends to contact your bank immediately and to quote the Payment Services Regulations. These say that you must be refunded immediately if you are a victim of fraud. If the bank can show that you were careless with your card and PIN or password, you will be liable for a maximum of £50, although many banks and building societies will waive this.
If you go to the cash machine and try to withdraw cash that does not appear, this is what to do.
1. Ensure your cash isn’t coming - Sometimes cash cards can take time to dispense money, so ensure the money is not coming. Give it at least 30 seconds just to make sure it does not dispense.
2. Remember the details - If the cash machine says something, remember what it says, especially says there has been an error of some sort. Also note down the time and location of the ATM.
3. Phone the bank: report the issue - Report the issue to the bank you withdrew the money from as quickly as possible. The cash machine keeps a record of all transactions from the machine. They will have to access the machine and from the records can find if there was an error.
If you are unsure you can use this link to find the right bank: http://www.link.co.uk/ATMLocator/Pages/ATMLocator.aspx
4. Contact your bank - If your issue is not resolved within a few days, then contact your bank and ask for assistance to resolve the issue. As the amount withdrawn from the cash machine is cross-referenced with the amount in the machine, any discrepancies should be identified.
Typically it can take 15 days to get a refund processed.
5. If the bank cannot solve it, go to the ombudsman- If your bank cannot solve the issue after eight weeks, then go to the Financial Ombudsman Service, they will independently assess your case and determine if the bank is at fault and if so can make the bank repay you.
Cash card swallowed by the machine
If your card is swallowed by the cash card, then you will be unlikely to get it back! If you go into the branch they will not give it back to you. You need to contact your bank immediately and get a replacement, this normally takes three to five working days, depending on the bank.