Really and truly, how can you guard against electronic financial fraud? There has been a spate of incidents in the North of Scotland reported in just a few days. The fraudsters don’t care what distress they cause to people, the sense of violation there is.

A lone parent assisted with tax credits had her bank account cleared out; the offence took place in Essex, nearly 800 miles from where she and her bank account reside. It will take some time to replace the money to her account, meantime she has to live…what on?

Another person shopped in a superstore, and used the ATM at the store to obtain cash. within minutes her account was empty. She will get her money replaced in due course. Her money was electronically taken, within minutes of her own transaction, from a location in Essex. Again, about 700 miles from the place in which she shopped.

An observant superstore staff member became suspicious of a couple of people using their laptops in the café (not sure why, maybe there wasn’t open access to wifi). Concerns were reported to management. Not long after, there were a spate of electronically cleaned out accounts.

It seems than in many of these recent cases of electronic fraud/theft, that a device has been inserted into the card reader slot. Nothing quite so crude as an external mini camera in these cases. As a card enters the machine, the details are electronically fed to the laptops or a receiver somewhere, presumably decoded, and sent on to whoever is waiting to make a duplicate card to help themselves to your cash. Such a scam will not be blocked in any way by placing your hand or any other item over the key pad while inputting a PIN number. That action can only hinder a mini camera from getting a good view.

Apart from having a wafer thin spy glass, how can you tell if something is in the slot? Many machines are at waist height or lower, the slots are correspondingly low. Those that aren’t, are not at a height you can peer into very easily and even then, what is seen, if anything,is dependent on the individual’s eyesight.

There’s an active link to Essex with many of the recent cases, which suggests to me, there are mobile teams on the rounds, taking their holidays at the expense of others.


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