Co-operative Bank customers hit by Festival Park card cloning scam
BANK customers have had their accounts drained in a cash machine 'card-cloning' swindle.
Fraudsters tapped into the Co-operative Bank cash machine earlier this year by using a sophisticated device to record people's account details.
The bank discovered the scam in July and said it took 'immediate action' to make the machine safe again.
But at least 10 people have since reported having money siphoned from their accounts.
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And credit card experts said many more customers could yet have money stolen.
Michelle Whiteman, of the Payments Council, which supervises the credit card industry, said: "When a fraudster 'skims' your card details, they will be illegally stealing the magnetic stripe data to be copied on to a fake card, which can be used abroad in countries that don't have chip and PIN.
"There can be a delay before they actually use the details to take your money, which is why it is important to check your statements and check for any suspicious activity."
Mother-of-two Jasmine Hawley is among the victims who used the cash machine at Morrisons in Festival Park.
The 26-year-old, of East Crescent, Sneyd Green, was left struggling to pay her bills after £140 was taken.
Jasmine, who discovered the fraud last Wednesday, said: "I was up Hanley to buy some shoes for my son when I realised that the money had been taken."
Jasmine, who is mother to Connor, aged one, and Liam, aged two, went to the Hanley branch of Britannia Building Society to inform them.
She says she was told another seven people had fallen victim to fraud in the last two weeks.
The cash was taken in two withdrawals, one of £110 and one of £35, with the latter coming around the same time Jasmine was speaking to her bank.
She said: "I couldn't believe that they had managed to access my money. The part that makes me laugh is that they were spending it while I was actually queuing in the bank."
Jasmine's mother Mavis Murray, aged 51, said: "I was absolutely outraged. How can people do something like this, and so close to Christmas?"
When asked by The Sentinel to clarify how many people had fallen victim to the scam so far, a spokesman for the Co-operative Bank would only say the number was "in the low double digits".
A statement from the bank said: "An ATM skimming device was identified as being connected to a Co-operative Bank cash machine in the Stoke-on-Trent area in July.
"As soon as this was identified, immediate action was taken by the Co-operative Banking Group to remove this device and apply fraud prevention technology to protect against ATM skimming or entrapment devices being applied to the machine in the future."
The statement added that Jasmine's card was immediately blocked and she has now received a refund.