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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 12:42 GMT
Warning over cash card scam
Cash machine - generic
Thieves preted to assist the customer
Police in Edinburgh have warned cash machine users to be on their guard against a scam in which thieves tried to access bank accounts.

Lothian and Borders Police said it has had several reports of attempts to get money off customers using Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in the city centre.

The thieves have been using a technique known as the "Lebanese Loop".

The force stressed it could not give out full details of the scam, for obvious reasons, but said it has involved thieves tampering with cash machines.

If your card is swallowed up by a machine report it to your bank immediately
Police spokeswoman
The victim's card is apparently kept by the machine and the thief steps in and offers to help but asks the person to type in their Personal Identification Number (PIN).

When they still fail to get the plastic back and its owner leaves, the thief retrieves the card and uses the memorised PIN to steal money.

The victim can be totally unaware of the theft until they get their bank statement.

Lothian and Borders Police said a number of incidents have been reported at cash machines in George Street, Edinburgh, since 20 January.

The force said it believes a gang of criminals may have travelled across the border to target the capital as the system has been relatively unknown in Scotland.

A spokeswoman said: "We would like to highlight that this scam seems to be happening in our force area at the moment.

"Cashline users should be vigilant about their personal security when using ATMs.

"If your card is swallowed up by a machine report it to your bank immediately.

"Be wary of anyone offering to help and don't be tempted to try re-entering your PIN number."



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