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Hundreds of card holders hit by another cloning scam at Shell stations

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Hundreds of motorists visiting garages across the Lothians have seen tens of thousands of pounds stolen from their accounts in a card cloning scam.

08 December 2008 07:00 AM

Hundreds of motorists visiting garages across the Lothians have seen tens of thousands of pounds stolen from their accounts in a card cloning scam.

Police officers are now investigating whether bogus workers had fitted skimming gadets to copy card details which they then sold over the internet to criminals.

The devices had been attached to the chip-and-pin terminals inside garage shops, as well as ATMs outside.

Cash withdrawals were then made across the world, including Australia and Canada.

A police spokesman explained that people’s cards could have been scanned months ago even though money had only been coming out of their accounts during recent weeks.

He told the Edinburgh Evening News: “The information has been obtained some time ago, but is only being used now in Australia and Canada.

“Retailers need to be vigilant and I would ask them to know their customer, know their staff.”

The problem first came to light two months ago when customers who had been to the Shell garage in Mayfield Road, Easthouses, near Dalkeith, reported cash going missing.

Days later, motorists who had used the Shell petrol stations in Crewe Toll and Craigleith Road began reporting stolen money.

The next to be hit were people using the ATMs at the Shell garages beside the Lizzie Brice roundabout on the A71 and next to St John’s Hospital in Livingston.

The criminals obtain the card details by using a skimmer to digitally copy the magnetic strip on their card, they also have to watch or film the card users entering their pin numbers.

Many of the attempted withdrawals have been stopped by suspicious bank staff and several banks are investigating the overseas withdrawal of money from accounts.

Mark Bowerman, spokesman for the bank trade association Apacs, said: “Typically, the fraudsters will copy the magnetic strip on the back of cards and then use mini-cameras to gain pin numbers.”

The cloned information is then used overseas as the UK’s chip-and-pin system made them unusable here.

A Shell spokeswoman said: “Shell has been supportive of the police, Apacs and the card service provider in their ongoing investigations into this serious form of organised crime and identity theft.”

 

 

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