Three men have been jailed for attaching a card skimming device to a cash machine in Chester city centre.
Police were called by a member of the public to an ATM on St Werburgh Street, on October 30, after their card didn’t emerge from the machine and they noticed a skimming device and a camera after closer inspection.
Police arrested three men, who are all Romanian nationals, after stopping the car they were travelling in a short time later.
Iliuta-Gheorghe Balica, 32, of Chester Road, Liverpool, Ionut Bunoaica, 22, of Chester Road, Liverpool, and Liviu Zagorschi, 33, of Dovey Street, Liverpool, were jailed at Chester Crown Court on Thursday 30 November after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal.
Balica was sentenced to 12 months in prison and Bunoaica and Zagorschi were jailed for 13 months.
Chief Inspector Mike Evans said: “As result of the fantastic information we received from the member of the public these three men are now behind bars.
“Card skimming is always a serious crime because of the organisation required to carry it out. We are pleased that these men are paying for trying to make easy money.”
With card skimming fraud on the apparent increase across the UK police urge people to remain vigilant, here’s what you can do;
• Fraudsters sometimes fit devices to cash machines that trap your card, which they then retrieve as soon as you have left the area. If your card is retained by the machine for any reason, report it to your card company immediately, ideally using your mobile phone while you are still in front of the machine.
• If there is anything unusual about the cash machine or there are signs of tampering, do not use it and report it to the bank as soon as possible.
• Cover your PIN. Stand close to the machine and always use your free hand and body to shield the keypad as you enter your PIN to prevent any prying eyes or hidden cameras seeing your PIN.
• Do not get distracted. Be particularly cautious if ‘well-meaning’ strangers try to distract you or offer to help you and most importantly, discreetly put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine.