Vegas card theft probe

Criminal gang targets Lancashire bank accounts
Criminal gang targets Lancashire bank accounts
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An international gang has been stealing cash from Lancashire people’s bank accounts and spending it in Las Vegas casinos.

A cluster of suspected “skimming” incidents in the Leyland and Croston area has led to money being withdrawn in Australia and America, including in the casinos of gambling capital Las Vegas.

Royal Bank of Scotland has launced an investigation.

A spokesman for RBS said: “Our ATM team are looking in to the concerns.

“We’d urge people to take care when using ATMs.

“They should be especially cautious if strangers try to distract them or offer to help at an ATM, even if their card is stuck or they are experiencing difficulty with the transaction. Everyone should regularly check their account balance and keep their receipt to check against their statement.”

Debrah Wheeler, from Leyland, said: “My bank NatWest rang me to say they had stopped someone taking money out of my account from a casino in Las Vegas.

“The bank believe my details were taken over the internet, I was shocked.”

“I didn’t go to the police as the bank sorted it so quickly and I didn’t think I needed to.”

The majority of people had not reported the incidents to the police, so information is not available on how much money has been lost or how the customers’ details have been accessed.

Last week a 52-year-old Croston man had £275 withdrawn from his account in Australia.

He said: “I got a call from HSBC last Saturday saying my account had been accessed in Australia. I was at home in Lancashire so it obviously wasn’t me. They took £275 and then they attempted to take some more money.”

Banks fear the fraudsters are withdrawing millions of pounds a year from UK accounts. And Financial Fraud Action UK revealed that counterfeit card fraud had risen to £43.4 million in 2013.

And a spokesman for the FFA explained why British money had been targeted by international criminals in countries like the USA, who do not use chip and PIN.

He said: “Card fraud abroad typically occurs as a result of criminals stealing magnetic stripe details from UK cards to make fake magnetic stripe cards for use in countries overseas yet to upgrade to chip and PIN.”

Mark Cookson, from Ulnes Walton, Chorley had his account accessed from Australia. He said: “I got a call last Sunday informing me that unusual transactions had taken place with my card that morning. Someone in Australia had tried to take $300 from my account, fortunately the bank stopped it before it went through. I’ve heard about a lot of people in the local area being done. I don’t use ATMs so mine may have been by using businesses in Croston.”

None of the fraudulent transactions have been reported to the police as the bank deal with the matters in house.

And the police’s national Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit said it was not investing the crimes. Several victims from Leyland and Croston have shared their anger over Facebook.

If you need more information or think you have been a victim of fraud call ActionFraud on: 03001232040