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10 ways to beat cash-machine fraudsters

Stay safe on the street and online

Despite the general public's apparent caution toward online banking, figures released in March this year by the bank clearing house Apacs showed that cash machine fraud costs the banking industry more than £60m a year.

And this shouldn't be a surprise. You can restrict access to your home PC, and if you maintain vigilance against keyloggers and be cautious about phishing attacks, you can stay largely in control of your personal battle against thieves.

But on street cash machines are, in effect, your online-banking PC exposed to any passing criminal or scamster. So it pays to take every care when using the cashpoint.

Graham Mott of the cash-machine company LINK says that the biggest concern in this area is 'card skimmming': "It is important that the industry works with consumers to combat fraud in any form, he said. "And there are ways in which consumers can ensure that they do not become victims."

Here then, are PC Advisor and LINK's Top 10 ways of combatting cashpoint fraud:

1. Just as you feel safest on your own PC while online banking, try to use cash machines with which you are most familiar. And if you are off familiar territory, look for well-lit, well-placed cash machines where you feel comfortable.

More: Bank customers get chip and PIN readers

2. Check out the whole cash machine area before you approach it. If there are any suspicious-looking individuals around or if the cash machine looks too isolated or unsafe, ditch it. Go elsewhere.

3. The biggest security risk involved in online banking is you. You know your codes and passwords, and you could give them away. The same applies on the street. Keep your PIN secret. Never, ever reveal your PIN to anyone. Not to someone from your bank, the police and especially not to a "helpful" stranger.

More: 'Pharming' attack targets 50 banks

4. you wouldn't put up with a colleague looking over your shoulder at work, so check that other individuals in the queue keep an acceptable distance from you. Be on the look-out for people who might be watching you enter your PIN.

5. Stand close to the cash machine and shield the keypad with your other hand when keying in your PIN. If someone gets your online password, they still need a host of other personal information. On the street, if someone gets your PIN you're a poor man walking.


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