Three pensioners in Peterborough have had hundreds of pounds stolen from their bank accounts after a series of card frauds in the city.
A man and woman were targeted at Ferry Meadows and Car Haven Car Park near the Town Hall on Saturday, while a third victim - Juanita Mayer (84) - had her account cleared out when queuing to use an ATM at Sainsbury’s in Bretton.
Ms Mayer’s son-in-law Peter Wade believes her card details were stolen through an electronic card reader used by a man standing next to her as £500 was stolen from her account moments before she tried to withdraw money.
He said: “She was at Sainsbury’s to do her shopping and went to get £40 out an ATM. There were two people standing by who approached her and in doing so pushed her partner out the way and stood next to her. “One said the machine is not giving cash so she’s gone to withdraw money from a different machine, but it declined. She tried again and it declined again, so she’s gone to the bank. “The bank said she had taken the maximum out. I think they skimmed her card electronically, and while she was in the queue they took £500 out. “She is 84 and on a pension. She’s never really had a lot of money so that’s a lot of her savings. She’s really distraught - it’s gut-wrenching.”
Bank fraud victims are covered by law if they report the incident to their bank and have not acted negligently. Mr Wade said his mother-in-law’s bank was “not forthcoming” about offering a refund, but he is hopeful CCTV evidence of the incident will help ensure she gets her money back.
Asked if police believed residents were being targeted by electronic skimming devices, a police spokeswoman said: “A crime has been raised and the incident reported to Action Fraud.”
The two incidents on Saturday involved car parking payment machines, with both victims approached by a man prior to using the machines and told they were not accepting cash so they needed to use a card.
The first incident was at around 9.30am when a woman in her 70s went to use a payment machine at Ferry Meadows. The machine did not return her card and she later discovered £700 had been taken from her account.
Then at about 11.30am a man in his 70s tried to use a payment machine at Car Haven Car Park. The machine failed to return his card and £530 was stolen.
A police spokesperson said: “Officers visited both payment machines but no skimming devices were found. However, these may have been removed after the money had been taken.
“We would urge people not to use a cash machine or car park payment facility if it looks as though it has been tampered with or a device added where the card is inserted. We would also ask people to be cautious of anyone who approaches them when using a machine.”
Anyone with information regarding the incidents should call police on 101.
Matthew Bradbury, CEO of Nene Park Trust, which runs Ferry Meadows, said: “Our rangers routinely monitor our own payment machines which are also covered by security cameras. However, we would urge our visitors to report any suspicious activity or individuals in our car park to a ranger or the Visitor Centre, as well as the police.”
Peterborough City Council said: “Our officers are continuing to monitor our car parks and we would urge anyone with information to contact police on 101.”