ATM Scams in Spain

ATM Machines the scams,  which ones to avoid using so you don´t incur massive charges. This article also covers tampered machines and what to look out for- Keep yourself and your money safe.

The term ATM means - Automated/automatic Teller Machine

Over the last few months you may have noticed that a lot of new ATM machines have been installed all over the town…. DO NOT use these unless in an emergency.  The reason there are so many of these around is because they make money out of people using them……

ATM machine scams in Spain

If you use a local Spanish bank card these machines are not to bad to use, but as a tourist using a foreign Bank Card, you are likely to loose up to 20% of your money on withdrawals and fees.

Firstly these machines give you the option to withdraw large amounts of money ie 1000€, they will then give you the worst exchange rate they can (decline their conversation offer), not only that but you may be charged up to 5 pounds with every transaction, as stated above this can amount to you loosing up to 20% of your hard earned money.

Always try to use the ATM machines at the main banks, where you will get a better exchange rate and will be charged less commission, (commission rates will vary depending upon your bank, so read the small print).  Also as a safe guard always inform your bank that you are going on holiday in Spain, that way they will be expecting some withdrawals from your account in Spain, if you don´t do this you run the risk of having your card blocked.

Other ATM Scams

Guardia Civil warn of new ATM scam in Spain.  Many thieves have specialized in the so-called “false front”, which consists of a simulation of the cashier equipped with cameras to capture the key of the card . This is why it is also recommended to check that there is no evidence of tampering. Of course this also applies all over the world and not just here in Benidorm.

If you have problems with any ATM machine that you think may have been tampered with in any way please contact the bank direct and call 062 or 112.

Things to look for –

ATM scams in Spain

and in English –

1 false front capture your key and money
2 bulky card slot may mean there is a skimmer
3 Loose slot, could be fake
4 loose keyboard, could be false
5 pay attention to who is around they may be waiting to use distraction techniques.


What to do when the ATM does not give you your money?

It may happen that we go to an ATM to withdraw money and after performing the correct banking operation, the machine does not give us the tickets . What to do then?

The Guardia Civil recommends a series of actions such as checking that the slot is not blocked, not trusting "volunteer helpers" and calling the bank . In addition, in no case should you leave the place:

ATM scams, The Lebanese Loop

The Civil Guard warnes of the latest ATM fraud using the "Lebanese loop" technique .

The name of the "Lebanese loop" responds, in police jargon, to the method by which criminals keep money from ATMs. To do this, they stick a glue stick to the cashier's banknote extraction slot and when any customer comes to withdraw cash, the money stays rolled up inside the bar and the machine ends the transaction . The victim does not receive the money that he wanted to subtract, but thinks that it is a technical fault of the cashier and leaves the place . Thus, scammers have a free way to approach the bar with the tickets stuck.

More information on Crime and other Scams to be aware of can be found HERE



0 # Hazel Edgar 2019-03-09 17:05
Best use the Banks ATM...all I use is my Santander card a quick check before I use the ATM to see if ever think is as it should be ..never had one problem in all the years I've been using it...it's just common sense really ?
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0 # Edg 2019-02-20 11:56
Just saw the description of a Lebanese Loop, and it's incorrect. A true Lebanese Loop is stuck over the card reader, behind this is a flap that traps the card behind and a short length of tape. After entering your card the flap comes down to stop you getting your card back and the tape stops the card going through the card reader to safety. The card is then trapped in the reader and after you have left the site the thief will return to the machine, pull off the loop and take your card. There may also be a pinhole camera embedded in the machine to capture your PIN number. NO legitimate ATM card reader will have a closed throat, the card entrance\exit slot will always be open. NEVER leave the site without contacting your bank, and if you believe the ATM is rigged, also speak to the police from site. By the time you rise in the morning and contact your bank you could potentially have lost hundred of pounds/euros. If you believe your card is trapped in the machine you decide to try pulling off the false front, without damaging the ATM, be aware that the thief is probably nearby, so never do this if you're alone, particularly at night. Stay safe, be aware
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0 # Tracy Ann 2019-02-20 13:37
both descriptions are covered on this page x
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0 # Tracy Ann 2018-12-02 21:00
if using an ATM, press NO conversion or you will incur extra charges as well as a bank charge
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0 # Andrew Conway 2018-12-15 22:53
Just to be absolutely clear, what does 'no conversion' mean Tracy? Only looking at withdrawing around 300 euro from my uk account. Thanks.
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0 # Tracy Ann 2018-12-16 11:28
A currency conversion fee is the former name for what has come to become known as a foreign transaction fee. Credit card transaction processors, such as Visa and MasterCard, charge the fee for any transaction that involves a foreign bank. The bank that issues a credit card may also tack on an additional fee.
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