Beware of ATM cash trapping


Sometimes all the fraudsters need to steal money from an account is a metal strip and double-sided tape. This fairly common and simple type of fraud is called cash trapping. Cash trapping involves placing a special overlay with adhesive tape on the cash hole, which blocks the withdrawal of money. In this case, the inattentive bank customer may think that the ATM is defective or has run out of money.

In this article, we will tell how ATM cash trapping devices work and what ATM fraud trends exist.

A person is withdrawing USD from an ATM Machine

How do ATM cash trapping devices work

This type of fraud involves placing a piece of photographic film or plastic material in an ATM, which is notched in such a way that the card, penetrating through the hole, is not returned to the owner, but falls into a compartment, which is later removed by the perpetrator. Sticky tape overlays block the issue of money and as a result, the cardholder cannot receive it. In cash trapping, fraudsters usually use two types of traps: visible from the outside or placed inside the ATM.

The mechanism of cash trapping:

  1. First, the perpetrator places a strip of tape in the cash withdrawal slot of the ATM.
  2. When the user approaches the ATM and starts the transaction procedure, the cash is trapped and the cardholder cannot retrieve it.
  3. The ATM tells the customer that cash is being dispensed, but because it does not appear from the ATM, the cardholder may think that the ATM is malfunctioning.
  4. If the cardholder walks away thinking there has been a malfunction, the fraudster goes to the ATM and removes the fake trap along with the money glued to it.

Important: Because of the simplicity of cash trapping, such frauds occur regularly. For example, recently, in June, criminals who stole more than 20 thousand pounds sterling using cash trapping were sentenced in London.

Cautions to the users to tackle ATM cash trapping

Due to the prevalence of cash trapping, cardholders should take care of their security promptly. Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself against cash trapping.

  • When using an ATM, be vigilant for any signs of tampering with elements of the device.
  • If you see signs of ATM tampering, call the police.
  • Cover the keypad with your hand when entering the PIN code and do not give it to anyone. It is also important to remember about shoulder surfing.
  • Make sure that the card slot is intact and secure before using the ATM.
  • Check the ATM keypad for defects (bulges, unusual color, etc.).
  • It is best to use ATMs with an anti-skimmer.
  • Never walk away from the ATM if it does not dispense cash to you. If you move away, the offender will take your money.
  • If the cash dispenser does not dispense cash, call the bank at the phone number on the cash dispenser and tell them what happened. Then follow the instructions of the bank employee.

ATM fraud trends

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a 51% increase in overall fraud.

According to the report, ATM fraud (including cash trap, jackpotting and other types of ATM attack) has increased in Europe in recent years.

A persistent trend in 2022 is BIN attacks – cyberattacks in which attackers generate bank card numbers using special software.

According to a study jointly conducted by PYMNTS and Mitek in late 2021, more than 10% of credit and debit card users have experienced fraud in the past 12 months.

In 2021, 281.5 million people are affected by data breaches, and cybercrime costs companies $1.79 million per minute. That’s why in 2022, all businesses, regardless of size or line of business, should clearly understand the importance of cybersecurity and take steps to protect themselves and their consumers.

Important: According to a report by research firm The Nilson Report, global card payment fraud losses will reach $34.66 billion in 2022.

To monitor and prevent ATM fraud, today’s companies are choosing advanced solutions that provide real-time video and photo viewing.


Cash trapping and other types of ATM fraud are the main factors hindering the growth of ATM market share. That’s why financial institutions should consider potential threats from intruders and use advanced technologies and modern software to secure ATMs.

One solution to secure ATMs is ATMeye.iQ from BS/2. This comprehensive software is designed for video surveillance of ATMs, electronic tellers, terminals, and other equipment. ATMeye.iQ provides a real-time video and photo viewer and simplifies the work of the security and support service with special sensors to detect any suspicious activity.

The solution is used to monitor incidents, reacts to ATM users’ faces, and searches for their counterparts in the database, black and white lists. When a threat occurs, the administrator receives an alarm notification. ATMeye.iQ can cancel a customer’s service if their face is hidden.

ATMeye.iQ has been used by financial institutions for 20 years and is popular in 80 countries.


Recently, there has been an increase in cash trapping compared to other types of ATM fraud. That’s why modern financial institutions use special solutions to ensure the security of ATMs.

Below you will find answers to several questions about ATM cash trapping.

How to spot an ATM cash trapping device?

These devices are quite easy to recognize. The cash-dispensing hole, in this case, is tightly closed with a metal or plastic cover.

What to do if cash does not come out of the ATM?

If the money is stuck in the ATM, you should not move away from it. The first thing to do is to call the bank.

What happens if an ATM swallows your card?

If the ATM swallows your card, contact the bank staff immediately. It is best to be near the machine when doing so, as it may be necessary to cancel the ATM card.

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