Beware This Low-Tech ATM Scam

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You'd think that with today's heightened high-tech security, ripping off devices as sophisticated as an ATM would take a doctorate in computer science from MIT. Turns out all it takes is a wad of napkins.

You’d think that with today’s heightened high-tech security, ripping off devices as sophisticated as an ATM would take a doctorate in computer science from MIT.

Turns out all it takes is a wad of napkins.

According to this article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the cops recently nabbed a guy doing something incredibly simple – and lucrative. He simply jammed some napkins in the cash dispenser of an ATM, then hung around. When people tried to withdraw cash, the napkins would keep it from coming out of the slot. After they scratched their heads, stomped their feet and left, he’d simply remove the napkins and the cash.

The crook was nabbed by SFPD and charged with burglary.

Moral of the story? If you try to take some cash out of an ATM and it’s not happening, don’t scratch your head or stomp your feet. Reach into the slot and see if there’s something blocking it. If that doesn’t solve the problem, don’t leave: Obviously, if you’re at a bank and it’s open, get help. If you’re not, call the number on the ATM. Last resort? Use your phone to take a picture of the ATM screen and call the responsible party ASAP.

Thanks to our pals at the Consumerist for pointing out this story.

Stacy Johnson

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