Wednesday 4 January 2017 6.38pm
Confession time - I'm feeling very stupid for falling for a new scam, and having my debit card stolen AND revealing my PIN number at a cash machine this afternoon. But in spite of my embarrassment, it's worth putting on record as a warning.
I'd just taken some cash out of the NatWest machine at the Elephant and Castle end of Newington Causeway
- it's isolated and exposed, between BetFred and Nando's
, and one I usually try to avoid. As I turned away a well-dressed young man who had been hovering nearby (I assumed waiting to use the machine, and deliberately standing back so as not to see me enter my PIN) called me back and warned me that unless I waited for a receipt the machine would automatically block my card. What I needed to do was put my card in again, enter my PIN while pressing one of the other keys, then press 'cancel'. With hindsight, very silly!
But he was so confident I felt embarrassed to contradict him, and decided to humour him (!). Of course, with him hovering around giving me advice, and me trying to press one button with one hand while typing in my PIN with the other hand I must have given him the perfect opportunity to see the numbers I was entering. Then, as nothing happened and I tried for a second time, I didn't realise the machine had already returned my card, just waiting for him to take from the slot while I was distracted.
By the time I realised my card wasn't in the slot, my helpful friend had vanished.
I headed home to phone the bank. As I walked in the door the telephone rang. It was Barclays security to say they had noticed unusual activity on my card and had blocked it - but not before the thief had withdrawn £200 from the machine at Tesco's at the Elephant, and a further 4 x £200 from another machine (it shows up on my account as 'M1 Bermondsey ASD' -anyone know where that is?) - all within 6 minutes.
I'm most grateful to Barclay's for their efficiency - and they've put the money back into my account. But apart from feeling very silly, and continually rehearsing what I should
have done or said, I'm just annoyed that some young b****r has got away with a thousand pounds for six minutes work - as bad as a professional footballer or a city banker!
So, take warning - and if anyone comes across him pulling the same trick, please give him a punch on the nose from me.