Warning over ATM ‘skimming’

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POLICE in H District, which includes Ballymoney and Moyle, are urging the public to be remain vigilant while using ATM machines and are keen to warn members of the public of potential risks so they can remain alert to any suspicious activity.

This warning follows two recent incidents where machines were targeted with skimming devices in the the Coleraine and Ballymena areas.

The device recovered in Ballymena is of extremely high quality in construction and was virtually undetectable when attached to the ATM.

Police would like the public to be mindful of any suspicious activity and report anything dubious immediately.

The PSNI’s advice to card users is if they see something which looks out of place at an ATM is: do not touch it, stop the transaction immediately and alert the police as well as their bank.

Customers are also advised to make sure they hide their pin number while at an ATM as criminals may be watching.

Police have also issued the following advice:

* Be aware of your surroundings. If you are talking on a phone or wearing headphones you can’t take in what is going on around you.

* Do not be complacent - a robbery can occur in crowded environments, not just deserted streets.

* Increase your vigilance when using an ATM. If there is anything unusual about the cash machine, particularly the slot, then you should not use it, but report your suspicions to the bank and police immediately.

* Cardholders should also guard their personal identification number (PIN) more carefully and be aware that any form of distraction or assistance while they are using an ATM could mean someone is trying to steal their dispensed money or their card.

* If someone tries to distract you and you feel unsure - cancel the ATM transaction.

Anyone who notices anything suspicious at a bank machine, or any suspicious activity, should contact police on 0845600 8000.

If someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

* The device in Coleraine was discovered at an ATM in the Diamond area and the device in Ballymena was discovered at an ATM on Church Street.