The Irish Payment Services Organisation has issued a warning about a new type of scam targeting users of bank cash machines.
The scam involves a criminal placing a device on the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which traps the user's card in the card slot.
The customer uses the ATM while the criminal watches as they key in their Personal Identification Number (PIN). When the card remains stuck in the machine the criminal offers to help the victim to retrieve it.
The criminal then makes as if to recover the card but actually gives the victim back a substitute card which looks similar to theirs.
In many instances these "replacement cards" have turned out to have been previously stolen or cancelled.
Passing a bogus card to the victim is a ruse aimed to buy the criminal time to use the genuine card before the loss has been realised by the cardholder and reported to their bank.
Having seen the victim key in their PIN at the ATM, the criminal retrieves the victim's card from the card slot and withdraws as much cash as possible until such time as the card is reported stolen.
IPSO said in the past week, six such cases have resulted in losses of €30,000.
IPSO has issued a statement asking the public to warn elderly or vulnerable friends and family about this scam and to avoid talking to strangers at ATMs.
"Customers should cover the PIN pad when using an ATM and should report to their bank any unusual activity such as the capture of their card in an ATM. IPSO advises anyone who believes they may have been affected by this scam to talk immediately to their card issuing bank which will check their account for any unauthorised cash withdrawals or activity," it said.