POLICE are investigating a “sneaky” new cash machine scam discovered in Wigan.
Shoppers have been warned to be on their guard as the town enters the busy festive season and many more people make rushed cash withdrawals.
Thankfully, eagle-eyed staff at the Marsh Green Co-op who operate the machine prevented the victim from losing his money.
GMP are now looking for a man in his late 20s or early 30s described as being “tanned or mixed race” wearing blue jeans and a grey top, complete with a black body warmer who was seen to be loitering nearby but then made a hasty retreat.
The scam again sees a form of false front attached neatly to the cash machine’s dispensing hole.
But rather than illegally recording the cash card number, the letter box shaped cover simply grabs the cash notes on their way out of the machine, via a sticky pad on the rear.
The customer goes inside the shop to complain that he had received no money, even though the transaction appears to have been successfully completed.
But while he is there the watching thief returns to the machine to quickly rip off the false cover, complete with the cash, before disappearing.
Thankfully, Co-op staff, who had witnessed another unsuccessful attempt at the scam earlier in the day, knew what had happened and removed the false front - complete with his £20 note stuck to the rear - before the thief could get his hands on it.
The victim- who has asked not to be identified - said that the devise was “sneaky” and, with many older people living in the area, could have a devastating effect on their household budgeting if they ended up losing part or all of their pensions.
He said: “I put my card in and punched in £20 to withdraw but although I could hear the thing whirring into life in the normal way it does, no money came out and it then gave me my card back and a notice came up on the screen, Transaction Complete.
“I went into the Co-op to warn them it was broken and the staff said straight away they knew what had happened because the same thing had occurred earlier in the day.
“When they pulled off this dummy front and showed me my money stuck to the back of it I was gob-smacked ... I had never seen anything like it in my life.
“The levels that some people will go to rip off others is terrible.
“There were a couple of men standing around across the road looking rather suspicious who ran off.”
A police spokesman confirmed they were investigating the tea-time attempted theft scam involving a dummy fascia panel.
She said: “It had been reported earlier in the day that two men had been seen acting suspiciously near the machine attempting to put something over it.”