Machine fraud, defined as a device being used to trap money inside ATMs, has increased more than 15 times in London in three months.
Thieves are using the "cash claws" to intercept banknotes at machines, according to Link, which runs the country's cash machine network. The method is cruder than the usual, more high-tech fraud techniques employed to steal cash.
Reported incidents have gone from 150 cases in May to 2,500 in London alone in August, according to the BBC.
How the fraud works
"A criminal inserts a device called a cash claw into the cash point machine and takes a transaction of money out to enable them to put the device in," Dave Carter, head of London's Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, said in the story. "They then leave it — it's undetectable, it's behind the guard on the cash drawer in the machine. Then the unsuspecting member of the public comes along, attempts to take some cash out. The money then gets trapped by this device in the cash drawer and then prevents them from taking the money out of the machine."
After the machine goes out of service, the criminal returns, forces open the drawer with pliers or a screwdriver, removes the cash claw and takes the customer's money.
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