Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Met Team to Tackle Credit Card Fraud

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Met Team to Tackle Credit Card Fraud

Article excerpt


A NEW police squad is being set up to combat spiralling credit card fraud. As investigators uncover evidence of more and more elaborate cashpoint cons and the copying of credit cards, the new unit will target organised gangs.

The Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, made up of officers from the Met and City forces, will battle to stem the illicit trade that now costs banks and retailers [pound]400 million a year.

The squad, which is costing [pound]5.6 million to fund over two years, will target the most prolific activity known as "skimming" and an emerging scam called the "Lebanese Loop".

"Skimming" involves copying data from the magnetic strip without the cardholder's knowledge, and transferring it onto a counterfeit card.

This can be done using a small instrument attached to the user's belt, similar to an electronic pager. Investigators are concerned that workers in garages and restaurants are involved in the scam.

The Lebanese Loop - which got its name from the Lebanese fraudsters who invented the scam - involves fitting a dummy second card slot over the real ATM slot, trapping the card when it is inserted.

The thief then watches as the PIN code is repeatedly entered and retrieves the card after the owner has left.

Scotland Yard has issued a warning to bank customers to be on their guard against thefts of this style.

'The day I was a cashpoint victim'

By Neil Norman

11pm, South Kensington: I inserted my cash card into the Abbey National ATM.

Words appeared on the screen: "You have inserted your card the wrong way up.

Retrieve your card and try again."

I waited but my card didn't come out. I punched buttons in frustration.

The machine whirred and clinked but no card was forthcoming. "This machine isn't working," I told the couple behind me. …

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