A cluster of suspected card “skimming” incidents at cash machines around Leyland and Croston has sparked fears that an international gang is targeting the area.
A number of bank accounts have been compromised, with money extracted from the other side of the world, including Australia and the USA.
One hole in the wall machine in Croston, where it is believed several cards have been cloned, is currently being investigated by the Royal Bank of Scotland.
And a spokesman for RBS said: “Our ATM team are looking in to the concerns.
“We’d urge people to take care when using ATM’s.
“They should be especially cautious if strangers try to distract them or offer to help at an ATM, even if their card is stuck or they are experiencing difficulty with the transaction.
“Everyone should regularly check their account balance and keep their receipt to check against their statement.”
In one case last week £275 was withdrawn in Australia from a Croston man’s account.
And the 52-year-old man, who does not want to be named, believes his card was copied at the RBS cash point in Town Road, Croston.
He said: “I got a call from HSBC last Saturday saying my account had been accessed in Australia.
“I was at home in Lancashire so it obviously wasn’t me.
“They took £275 and then they attempted to take some more money.
“I travel the country for my work but the cash machine I use the most is the RBS one in Croston, so it looks like it could be that one.
“I’ve been stung by fraudsters before and I just want people to be aware of the risks.
“The bank was brilliant, they helped me get my money back straight away.”
Banks fear the fraudsters are withdrawing millions of pounds a year from UK accounts.
And Financial Fraud Action UK revealed that counterfeit card fraud had risen to £42.4 million in 2013.
The FFA’s figures show that the amount of card fraud on UK issued cards that took place abroad totalled to £122 million last year.
And a spokesman for the FFA explained why British money had been targeted by international criminals in countries like the USA, who do not use chip and pin.
He said: “Card fraud abroad typically occurs as a result of criminals stealing magnetic stripe details from UK cards to make fake magnetic stripe cards for use in countries overseas yet to upgrade to Chip & PIN.”
But others who contacted the Evening Post believe other sites and not just ATM’s in Central Lancashire, particularly Leyland have been targeted too.
Mark Cookson, from Ulnes Walton, Chorley had his account accessed from Australia.
But as the 48-year-old does not use cahs machines he believes criminals are targeting card transactions in stores.
He said: “I got a call last Sunday informing me that unusual transactions had taken place with my card that morning.
“Someone in Australia had tried to take $300 from my account, fortunately the bank stopped it before it went through.
“I’ve heard about a lot of people in the local area being done.
“I don’t use ATM’s so mine may have been by using businesses in Croston.
“I’ve heard of other people who have been scammed after using supermarkets in the area.
“The bank couldn’t tell me where my card was cloned.
“It does make you scared to use machines and I’d urge people to be more careful.”
None of the fraudulent transactions have been reported to the police as the bank deal with the matters in house.
And the police’s national Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit said it was not investing the crimes.
Several victims from Leyland and Croston have shared their anger over Facebook.
One card user, who’s money was accessed from a casino in Las Vegas is led to believe that her details were stolen over the internet
Debrah Wheeler, from Leyland said: “My bank Natwest rang me to say they had stopped someone taking money out of my account from a casino in Las Vegas.
“The bank believe my details were taken over the internet, I was shocked.
“I didn’t go to the police as the bank sorted it so quickly and I didn’t think I needed too.”