Cash Trapping

n December 2021, Nationwide Building Society issued a warning over ‘cash trapping’ scam at ATMs and how to spot it.


ATM ‘cash trapping’ is one method used by criminals to attack cash machines. The attackers physically insert a device inside the ATM, which traps cash that is allotted by the cash dispenser to the customer.


The device installed inside the ATM cash slot to trap money is known as ‘glue-trap’. Once the customer walks away (without their money), the criminal approaches the machine, opens the cover and pockets the money.


Customers should check for suspicious activity before entering their card or pin number.


Using a cashpoint is easy, convenient and almost always safe. But sometimes criminals tamper with cash machines to steal your card information, PIN, or cash. Always be vigilant when using an ATM – look out for any signs it might have been tampered with or damaged but also be aware of covering your PIN and ‘shoulder surfers’ hanging around.


Barclays recently issued a similar warning to Nationwide’s, stating spelling mistakes, such as in the warning sign above the ATM (see image), should be considered a red flag.


Key message; if you see anything unusual or suspicious at an ATM, do not use it!  Report it immediately to the police or the nearest branch.  UK Finance said if your money does not come out, you should contact the ATM provider or lender immediately.


If no cash comes out or your card is jammed, report it immediately to your bank or building society, ideally by calling them while you are still in front of the machine. If in doubt, use a cash point located inside a known retailer or bank or building society or an over the counter service instead.




  • Never divulge your PIN to anyone, not even the bank or police, and always shield your hand when entering your PIN into a cash point or ATM keypad


  • Always look closely at the card insertion point of a cash machine before using it. If it looks like it may have been tampered with, do not use it and call your bank, if it is safe to do so


  • If you realise the cash machine has been tampered with after you have inserted your card, contact your bank while still standing at the cash machine, if it is safe to do so


  • If an ATM fails to dispense your cash, unexpectedly retains your card or appears to become “out of order”, contact your bank while still standing at the cash machine, if it is safe to do so


  • Save your bank’s phone number (usually found on the back of your card) into your phone contacts, so you’ll have it handy should you ever need it


Cash trapping is still occurring.  Yesterday (Sunday 23rd January 2022), an incident of cash trapping occurred in Lavender Hill, London at an HSBC ATM.


Always be vigilant and keep reading Valkyrie’s posts for tips and advice on how to keep you, your loved ones and your possessions safe.

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