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Vancouver police warn public about using ATMs on Granville strip

File photo. David Ryder/Getty Images

Vancouver police are warning people to be vigilant while using ATMs on the Granville strip.

They say fraudsters target intoxicated people late at night and since January, 2017, there have been nine incidents of theft involving thousands of dollars reported to police.

It appears suspects are looking over the shoulders of people withdrawing money from ATMs and then obtaining their pin numbers. In some cases, the fraudsters also steal the debit card and replace it with an expired card so the victim remains unaware of the theft. They then use the victim’s card to withdraw money.

In other cases, police say suspects approach people who have just used the machine, and who have their cash and debit card in-hand. They convince the intoxicated victim that the card they are holding belongs to the thief, who had left it in the machine, and then swap it for an inactive card.

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Then they use the card and pin to take money from the victim’s bank account.

“Awareness is always your best defence,” said Sgt. Jason Robillard, spokesperson for the Vancouver police, in a release. “Look around you and see if someone is standing close enough to see your pin. Move close to the ATM and use your body or hand to block prying eyes.”

Vancouver police also offered these prevention tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings – it you feel unsafe and if someone suspicious is loitering around the ATM, leave immediately
  • Always conceal your PIN number when you are entering it – stand close to the machine
  • If you are planning a night out with drinking, consider withdrawing cash prior to going out and not late at night when you are intoxicated
  • Don’t accept “help” or allow anyone to interfere with your transaction
  • Consider lowering your daily withdrawal limit
  • Monitor your banking transaction regularly and report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately

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