Police use 'graffiti' to spread cash machine safety warning
THE next time you need to pop to the cash point to withdraw some money, spare a thought for whoever might be watching you.
Gloucestershire police are taking action after a series of fraud offences committed at cash machines across Cheltenham.
The force is urging the public to cover up their pin number when they withdraw money and have been reinforcing its message by mounting adverts at the sites
Devices have been placed at machines across town, enabling thieves to record PIN numbers.
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The most recent theft took place at an ATM in the Kingsditch Trading Estate.
Police were alerted after a device was installed at a cash point outside Barclays bank in Rutherford Way.
The plea comes after three Romanian scammers were jailed in July after they admitted stealing bank customers’ cards and PINs in Cheltenham.
Lucian Florin Dascalescu, 28, of Red Lane in Coventry, Mihai Marian Dragan, 27, also of Red Lane in Coventry, and Cristian Robert Tudor, 21, of no fixed address ripped off customers after devices which swallowed cards were planted on a cash point in Bath Road . ‘Clean pavement’ advertising – which looks like pavement graffiti, but washes off – has been popping up all over the town – and there’s more yet to come.
The advert makes one clear statement – Cover Your Pin.
PC Annabel Brittain said: “It’s quite simple: if you cover your PIN, thieves can’t use it to take your money. Over recent months we’ve been working with the local media and hitting our Twitter and Facebook pages to warn the public about fraudulent devices being used at cash machines in Cheltenham to steal your hard-earned cash but unfortunately some people still haven’t got the message, hopefully this will help spread the word.”
“We’ve also been doing all we can to catch those responsible and we have already had a number of successful prosecutions but sadly the crimes have continued.
“Thankfully there is something the Cheltenham community can do to help us stop these crimes and that’s protecting your PIN.”
The thieves are believed to operate by using one device that reads or steals your card and another above the key pad that records you entering your PIN.
“If we are all careful to hide our PIN with one hand when at shop check-outs as well as cash machines then it won’t be worth their while coming to Gloucestershire to commit their crimes,” added PC Brittain.