ABC7 report: Scammers use glue and ‘tap’ feature on debit cards to steal funds at ATMs

An ABC7 report this week revealed a new scam thieves are using to drain the bank accounts of unwitting ATM customers in California.

According to the report, the scammers are going around the area using regular glue to block the card slots on ATMs so customers can’t access their accounts, and instead use the tap function on their cards to access their accounts on the machines. Once their withdrawals are complete and they walk away, the scammers approach the ATM, where the account is still open. 

The customers are unaware that the system does not automatically log them out after a single withdrawal, as most ATMs do when a transaction is complete. With the accounts still open, the scammers make additional withdrawals and drain the accounts of the previous user. 

Several customers who used the same ATM at a Chase Bank location in San Francisco recently had their accounts drained via this new scam, and complained to the bank about the excess withdrawals. Chase refused to refund the money, saying the withdrawals were technically authorized, and because the amounts were less than $5,000 each, the bank was not authorized to review the security footage from the ATM to determine the identity of the thieves.

However, one customer re-filed her complaint so many times that Chase ultimately did refund her for the thieves’ withdrawals, and after the ABC7 report came out, the bank reportedly refunded all the customers who complained of being victimized by the new fraud scam.

Authorities advise customers who are using ATMs to avoid using the tap feature if they can, and if they must use it, to make sure their session is logged out before walking away from the machine.




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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