Police Warn Preston Shoppers of ‘Card Skimming’ Scam

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Lancashire Police say they have received a number of reports about so-called credit card ‘skimming’ devices. Shoppers in and around Preston are warned to be aware of it.

preston credit card scam

Image: Lancashire Police

Credit card skimming is theft. Pure and simple. A thief may not take the actual card but they steal its identification details which equals theft and fraud. These scammers use a small electronic device which reads credit card information during a legitimate card transaction – usually when a person withdraws cash from an ATM (automatic tilling machine). When a credit or debit card is swiped through the skimmer device, it captures and stores details forced from a card’s magnetic strip.

Police warn card skimmers are often placed over the card swipe mechanism (where the card is inserted) on ATMs and commonly at petrol stations. In the past it has also been reported in the UK that fraudsters can even a small, virtually undetectable camera somewhere nearby or on the actual ATM to record people entering their personal identification numbers (PIN). This is why you must always cover the keypad with your other hand when you enter a PIN number, just in case.

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Stolen credit or debit card information gives the scammers the freedom to make withdrawals from your account leaving you to chase the bank for the money back. If you are the victim of credit card fraud you should contact your bank immediately and also inform the Police. This gives the thief all the information needed to make fake cards and withdraw cash from the cardholder’s checking account. It is often necessary to raise an ‘indemnity’ with a bank to obtain the money back but it isn’t an easy process which is why you must take steps to protect your card(s) from the outset.

In this latest Preston scam the banks involved have not been identified. Police warn the public to be on their guard around Preston, Leyland and Bamber Bridge.

Another tip offered by Police is to check the cash machine before you use it. Normally, a skimming device is loosely fitted. So before using an AT, check if there are any loose parts around it – give it a pull and a shove and feel above the keypad for cameras.

Lancashire Police ask that if anyone discovers a device to call them immediately.