ATM cash machines

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The Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Card Unit (DCPCU) are warning of a new ATM fraud where criminals use an invisible ‘cash claw’, also known as a "Lebanese loop" to jam cash machines allowing them to steal customer’s money.

The ‘pre-staging’ starts when a member of the gang uses a pre-pay card to withdraw a small amount of money. 

During the transaction they insert a thin metal instrument into the cash dispenser so it sits inside the machinery on the belt, just behind the cash dispenser shutter, making it invisible to the genuine customer.

The criminal then leaves the vicinity while an associate keeps close watch until a genuine cardholder attempts a withdrawal, only for the cash to become trapped in the “claw”.

When the bewildered customer gives up and moves on the gang quickly move in to force the dispenser shutter open and remove the cash.

The deployment of the “Cash Claw” first came to the notice of the UK banking industry in April after its use had been reported in Italy, Spain, and Netherlands, and after that the UK. Confirmed cases are rising exponentially, with the most prolific offending happening across London, including the City.

Crime Prevention Officer Tony Blake, from the DCPCU, said:

“The ‘cash claw’ is just the latest attempt by small-time crime gangs to steal customer and their banks money directly out of the cash machine.

“Industry has quickly wised up to this new methodology and is working alongside us to catch those responsible and to make it much more difficult for anyone looking to follow in their footsteps.”