Chip and PIN fraudsters are targetting pub and club-goers by spying on their codes when they pay for drinks at the bar. The gangs then steal their victim’s wallets or purses and withdraw the maximum daily allowance from nearby cash machines.
Which? has learned that many Chip and PIN thefts can be avoided if retailers use hand-held card machines that come with a guard. The guards, which can be obtained from card providers, make it far more difficult for thieves to see the codes when they are entered. According to the Metropolitan Police, incidents of ‘shoulder surfing‘ fell dramatically when bars introduced the guards. In Wandsworth, south London, the crime rate fell from 30 incidents a month to just one.
Card fraud a ‘nationwide problem’
Lavender Hill Safer Neighbourhoods Inspector Peter McGarry told Which?: ‘I believe this is a nationwide problem, and would like to see banks and other card machine providers do more to ensure that bar staff are made aware of the problem and are offered machines with PIN guards.’
While victims’ debit and credit cards may have a daily withdrawal limit of £200, for example, particularly savvy criminals are stealing cards just before midnight, withdrawing the maximum allowed, then taking a further sum as the new day begins.
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