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Australian banks fall prey to cash card skimmers

12 November 2002  |  7342 views  |  0 Sydney3

Australian banks have suffered their first reported incidence of wide-spread cash card fraud, as an organised crime ring attached skimming devices to four St George Bank ATMs and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from victim's accounts.

Customers of all four of the big Australian high street banks were hit by the scam, which centred on two ATMs on Sydney's Oxford Street, one on Newtown's King Street and one at the beachside suburb of Coogee.

Police say the thieves attached an external device to the ATMs which captured information from the magnetic stripe on cards as customer's performed legitimate transactions. PIN codes were also read, either by so-called 'shoulder surfers', or through the use of a pinhole camera.

The criminals then used white plastic copies of the cards to withdraw cash from user's accounts.

A St George Bank spokesman says the bank has identified more than 100 customers who have fallen victim to the sting, losing some $100,000 in total.

National Australia Bank says that 60 of its customer's appear to have been affected by the scam.

ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac are also working with police to identify customers who used the tampered cash machines.

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