Waitrose users hit by ATM scam

It seems that the old Lebanese Loop ATM scam - which entails blocking off the ATM card reader channel with a loop of tape - has been used at a NatWest ATM outside of the Penn Waitrose in the West Midlands.

According to local media reports, police are now urging anyone who uses the ATM at the Marston Road store in recent weeks to check their bank statements for any dodgy transactions.

Pc Geoff King, of the Birmingham Road crime fighting team, is quoted in the press as saying that hundreds of people used the ATM every day, and that the scanner could have been in place for weeks.

King said that the loop was recovered around ten days ago, but it was not clear how long it had been installed. The scanner loop is reported to have been home made and was stuck to the cashpoint with double sided tape.

The Lebanese Loop originated in London five years ago and is a sophisticated ATM scam that got its name from the gangs of immigrants from the Middle East who developed the system.

The original version worked by retaining the card in the loop, leaving customers walking away in disgust.

It appears the Penn Natwest ATM loop system was more sophisticated, however, and police think an integral scanner recorded the customer's card details, as well as the customer's PIN.

Myself, I have my doubts about customer's PINs being recorded, but I know of a number of court cases where the fraudsters have calculated the customer's PIN from a complex algorithm.

These cases have been quietly settled by the banks concerned and swept neatly under the carpet.